UNMC News

INBRE scholars: Meet Erik Arneson

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Erik Arneson
Twenty-two undergraduate students are spending the summer at UNMC doing research.

They are called INBRE scholars and are part of the largest grant in UNMC history.

Today we feature Erik Arneson, a junior from Creighton University pursuing a major in biology.

What people should know about you?
I have a tremendous amount of curiosity and am fascinated by why things are the way they are, both in a scientific setting and otherwise. I also consider myself a pretty competitive person, so I always want to be the guy who figures something out first or is able to provide the best answer. I feel that these qualities give me a drive to excel in science.

How long have you been interested in science?
I've been interested in science since I was very little. I was really into catching bugs and frogs and trying to keep them as pets, which probably gave my mom fits. Eventually that love of nature turned into an interest in biology and science in general.

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What excites you about science?
What excites me about science is that there is still so much that we don't know. There are still so many great, world-changing discoveries waiting to happen.

Do you hope to pursue a career in science?
I absolutely hope to pursue a career in science as an M.D., Ph.D., or some other scientific position. I just hope that I can contribute somehow to our evergrowing body of knowledge and help improve quality of life.

Why are programs like INBRE important?
Programs like INBRE are a great asset because it is not always easy for undergraduate students to get opportunities for hands-on experience in research. INBRE makes this possible.

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The INBRE program

Twenty-two students from 11 different undergraduate and community college programs have joined the Institutional Development Award Program (IDeA) Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE)/ Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) program. The INBRE/BRIN program is overseen by James Turpen, Ph.D., a professor in UNMC's Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy, and principal investigator of the $17.2 million National Institutes of Health grant that supports the program.

Established in 2001, the INBRE program was created to expose students to serious biomedical research, build a statewide biomedical research infrastructure between undergraduate and graduate institutions and to strengthen undergraduate institution's infrastructure and increase its capacity to conduct cutting-edge biomedical and behavioral research.

The students, referred to as INBRE scholars, enter the program after completing their sophomore year of college upon recommendation by their college professors. The students are given a two-year scholarship and spend 10 weeks each summer conducting research on either their home campus or at UNMC, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln or Creighton University.

At the end of the summer the students attend the INBRE annual meeting where they will give an oral presentation.