Welcome to the NDSU RaMP Participant Spotlight!

In this series, we shine a spotlight on the incredible RaMP researchers at North Dakota State University who are making a positive impact on campus and in their communities. Our participants are more than just researchers; they are dynamic individuals with unique stories, passions, and achievements.


Alexis Trester, RaMP Participant
Working with Dr. Timothy Greives


What are you working on right now?

I recently got the hydrogen isotope values back for my samples. We had hoped these would differentiate red-winged blackbirds that were resident breeders from red-winged blackbirds that were stopping-over during migration. However, the results did not make this clear. We are hoping that by conducting a triglyceride assay which indicates fat deposition, we may get a better idea of how the expression of our four target genes are related to fat deposition and storage, and also if combined with the other factors (molt status, hydrogen isotope ratios, etc.) if we will be able to differentiate between the two mentioned groups. I am currently waiting to conduct this assay and also looking into literature related to triglyceride generation in the liver which may also lead to a better understanding of our four target genes' functions and where individuals may be at in the migratory process.


What is your favorite part of this experience?

My favorite part of this experience has been the opportunity to become more familiar with the research process. Not only have I learned the protocols often used in biological research (tissue and RNA extraction, qPCR, etc.), but I have also gotten to go out into the field with various graduate students to assist them in their field work and see what that looks like. Additionally, I have learned methods of data analysis necessary to write a manuscript and create a poster, which I have been able to present at multiple conferences.


What do you enjoy most about Fargo?

What I have enjoyed most about Fargo are my peers. I have really enjoyed working with the other RaMP students, the graduate students in my lab, and also all the faculty involved here in the biological sciences department at NDSU. Everyone is always willing to help and it makes the learning process very enjoyable.


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