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Megan Guidry Shares Her REU Summer Research

This summer, biological sciences junior Megan Guidry is getting her hands dirty.

Guidry has been working in Dr. Drew Steen's lab in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences as a part of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's Microbial Community Interactions and Functions REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates).

Dr. Steen's group studies marine subsurface microbes and their novel metabolisms. Guidry’s  project for the summer has been optimizing a protocol to extract subsurface sediment microbial proteins (from the White Oak River estuary in North Carolina) for proteomic analysis. Their goal is to isolate these proteins to see how heterotrophic subsurface microbes with metabolisms on the scale of thousands of years are using carbon sources that are 100 million+ years old. 

“Every day I'm doing something new, whether it’s measuring out mud samples or flash freezing wet sediment,” Guidry said. “I've picked up new skills and learned many lessons this summer. Above all, I've gained confidence in myself as a researcher.”

When she’s not in lab, Guidry has taken the chance to explore the city of Knoxville, TN with her group of biology enthusiasts. All, she added, while making lifelong connections. 

“Overall, It's been an invaluable experience for me as an undergraduate considering a career in research,” she said.