Undergraduate Bria Frehner (on right) teaches Tess Bergeron how to passage cells under the hood in UNH’s Walker Lab.
Bria Frehner ’17 carries a handful of vials through the Walker Lab at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). Inside each container, a line of SKBR3 breast cancer cells is suspended in pink liquid. Today, Frehner is preparing those cells for future treatments, and gaining valuable skills as a Biomedical Science major in the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) that will support her goal of attending medical school.
“My dream is to be a neonatal surgeon, but I can imagine being an oncologist as well,” says Frehner, who finds the cancer work she does in the Walker Lab to be truly fascinating. When Frehner was a first year student, she took an honors biology course taught by Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Biomedical Sciences Chuck Walker. Given her skills and ambition, Frehner was among a couple of students chosen to learn cell culture in the Walker Lab. “Chuck gives guidance, but also encourages me to grow independently,” says Frehner.
Frehner is both continuing and expanding her work in the lab this summer through the Research Experience Apprenticeship Program (REAP) of the Hamel Center for Undergraduate Research at UNH. One of her roles is to mentor students new to the Walker Lab, including Biological Medicine major Tess Bergeron ’15. Together they sit at the hood where Frehner shows Bergeron how to passage cells. “Once the cells fill up a flask, you need to split them up and seed them at lower densities so they can continue to grow,” says Frehner as she demonstrates both the knowledge and skills she’s obtained in her hands-on education at COLSA, renowned for providing opportunities for undergraduate research and innovative experiential learning.
- Victoria Forester Courtland