For many college students, summer is a chance to get away from the classroom and enjoy themselves before classes start again in the fall. But for three West Virginia Wesleyan students, it was a chance to get their hands dirty to do some research on Lyme disease, a problem that’s become more prevalent recently.
“I found this research to be super interesting, because going into the medical field, this is super important. And with the tick rise recently that’s all over the media, that I felt this would be super-important to get my feet into,” said WVWC Junior Lukas Samargo.
Samargo is one of the students working on the project. The opportunity came thanks to the Summer Undergraduate Research Experiences program, funded by the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission. Professors at the college partnered with researchers from the DHHR to tackle the problem.
“He and his crew have been looking at ticks across the state, especially related to Lyme disease, and he was look for partners in the research, and we felt that was a niche we could fill,” said WVWC Professor Kim Bjorgo-Thorne
Professors at Wesleyan said the research won’t just help tackle Lyme disease in West Virginia, it will also allow those students to prepare themselves for their future careers with experience they can use as they move on.
“We have some students that are wanting to go to medical school, so it may not have been their first thought to go and look for ticks in the wild and bring them back and see what’s inside, but in order for them to have this opportunity, it really brings home what they’re studying when they get to medical school, and when they look at Lyme disease,” said Melanie Sal, WVWC biology professor.