NSU student working on research that could help people with kidney disease

Young woman in white lab coat working in a science lab

Photo credit: Sanford Health Marketing

ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University student Connor Doran is working on research this summer that could make a difference in the lives of people living with progressive kidney disease.

Doran, a biology major from Redding, Calif., is a summer intern at the Chandrasekar Lab through the Sanford Program for Undergraduate Research. This program, also called the SPUR program, allows undergraduate students to conduct research in pediatric biomedical sciences or cell and molecular biology. It also provides career and professional development opportunities to help students pursue research careers.

Doran explained that the Chandrasekar Lab studies non-muscle myosin II and its role in kidney epithelial cargo transport.

“Patients with Myh9 gene mutations (codes for non-muscle myosin II) are known to develop progressive kidney disease,” she said. “My summer project was molecular cloning (making plasmid DNA) to express a special type of myosin, myosin 18A, in a gene knockout model of MyH9 and Myh10 in mouse thick ascending limb cells.”

Working in the lab was an enjoyable experience, Doran said – and one that made her realize just how much hard work and perseverance it takes to conduct research.

“The best part of my research experience was being surrounded by a community of people that understand science and dedicate their life to finding cures for patients with rare diseases,” she said. “It is truly inspiring to see the work they put in every day.”

The internship has even given her insight into exploring her own future career.

“This experience has given me insight that a career in science is very broad and I want to explore different fields to really find my niche in a scientific career,” said Doran, who is also pursuing minors in chemistry and Native and Indigenous studies. “Currently, I am interested in finding work in public health or environmental science.”

Doran thanked the SPUR program and Chandrasekar Lab for the opportunity, as well as the NIH R25 grant for funding her research. She added, “I would also like to thank my professors Dr. (Jon) Mitchell, Dr. (Susan) Citrak and Dr. (Eric) Pulis for their mentorship and inspiring me to pursue this opportunity and a career in science.”

That kind of mentorship is one way Northern has helped lead Doran toward her career goals.

“I have had great mentors in guiding me through my academic career at NSU,” she said. “My professors have helped me when I had trouble with coursework and given me opportunities to conduct research in their labs.”

About Northern State University

Northern State University is a student-centered institution that provides an outstanding educational experience, preparing students through the liberal arts and professional education for their future endeavors. A regional university, Northern offers rigorous academics; diverse civic, social and cultural opportunities; and a commitment to building an inclusive environment for all points of view. Northern also offers a broad-based athletics program, sponsoring 15 NCAA Division II intercollegiate varsity sports that compete in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (NSIC). The university strives to enrich the community through partnerships such as its Educational Impact Campaign, which opened a new South Dakota School for the Blind and Visually Impaired; new athletic and recreation fields; and, soon, an on-campus regional sports complex. With the $55 million campaign, NSU has been the recipient of more than $150 million in privately funded building projects and scholarships within a decade. To learn more, visit NSU Admissions