Senior biology major Bethany Schmidt spent her summer working on potentially breakthrough cancer research at Gundersen Medical Foundation’s Kabara Cancer Research Institute in La Crosse, Wis.

In what will become a yearly academic collaboration between the two institutions, Schmidt served as the first Saint Mary’s University Fellow at Gundersen.

Schmidt’s summer research involved studying a particular protein, NudC, which is involved in cell division by examining a range of different kinds of cancer tissue from the Gundersen BioBank. She was trained to make thin sections of the tissue, put them on slides and stain them with an antibody that recognizes this protein to see if there was a difference in the expression of this protein in cancer tissue relative to normal tissue.

“I was very excited about the outcome,” Schmidt said. “My results started a whole new project in the lab where the protein I worked with will be researched further to determine more specifically its significance. I find it amazing that I could be a part of the beginning research that has the potential to make a difference in the future.”

“Being granted the opportunity to work at Gundersen meant a great deal to me,” Schmidt added. “I’m from the La Crosse area, so I know about the Gundersen system and how great the establishment is for patients and clients, as well as the employees who work there. The real-life experience was more than I could ask for. I really enjoyed working with everyone in the lab. I never thought that I would be given the chance to work at such a fantastic establishment in my undergrad career.”

Gundersen Health System is the La Crosse area’s largest employer and leading provider of primary and specialized care. Anchored by one of the nation’s largest multi-specialty group practices, a 325-bed teaching hospital with Level II Trauma Center, and more than 45 regional facilities, Gundersen Health System serves more than 500,000 residents of western Wisconsin, southeastern Minnesota and northeastern Iowa.

Additionally Gundersen Health System has been named a Top 100 organization 10 times in 10 years including Top 100 Hospital, Top 100 Heart Hospital and Top 100 Integrated Healthcare Network.

This article was previously published on November 11, 2013.

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