When interviewed in November 2019, recent graduate Lindsay Zumwalt stated that one of her aspirations was to publish a manuscript. Fast forward one year later, and Zumwalt has successfully checked “published research” off her list.
Zumwalt started her research journey through faculty-student independent research credit courses (291/491) and was later awarded the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) with the Center for Undergraduate Excellence in 2019. With the guidance and support of Dr. O Maduka Ogba, Zumwalt was encouraged to continue her research through SURF which led to Mechanism and Chemoselectivity for HOCl‐Mediated Oxidation of Zinc‐Bound Thiolates, her publication.
“This work perfectly blends my passion for medicine, my organic chemistry background, and my interest in applying technology to the medical field,” Zumwalt said.
Her research focuses on the bacteria Helicobacter pylori which resides in the stomach of about 50% of the world’s population and can cause stomach ulcers and cancer. The body’s typical response to foreign bacteria that kills most pathogens is inflammation, but this particular bacteria is attracted to inflammation, specifically Hypochlorous acid (HOCI). Zumwalt used computation methods to study the oxidative reaction between H. pylori and HOCI. This information can be used to prevent further infection and disease of the pathogen.
The path to publication or any research comes with expected challenges, as it did in Zumwalt’s case. “When on the pursuit of discovering new knowledge, you may go down a path that doesn’t lead anywhere,” she revealed. “This certainly did happen with this project. When this happens, it’s essential to take a step back, reflect on your work, learn from your mistakes, ground yourself in other known scientific knowledge, and brainstorm the next steps with your research team.”
Since Zumwalt conducted the majority of the data and results, she is listed as the first author of the paper, which is a great achievement. Dr. Ogba, her mentor for the research project, is the corresponding author which is reserved for the principal investigator.
“Lindsay is incredibly hardworking and a budding scholar in her own rights. I am proud of how she took ownership of the research project and saw it through to fruition,” he commented.
Zumwalt encourages students that want to be published to “find a project that you are deeply passionate about and a mentor who is willing to devote their time and efforts to guide you to success,” as she did with Dr. Ogba. “I am really grateful that he trusted me with this project, and I think we are both very proud of the outcome.”
What’s next up on her list? Zumwalt is currently applying to medical school, where she plans to become a pediatric neurologist and integrate technology and other innovations into the medical field.
The Center for Undergraduate Excellence congratulates Zumwalt on her publication, and we wish her the best of luck on her journey to medical school. Interested in applying for scholarship and grant opportunities? Follow our Facebook page and Instagram for more updates and announcements, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.