MSU grad headed to Capitol Hill

Braden “Brady” Burckhard was one of 60 students chosen nationally to go to Capitol Hill this past Wednesday, as part of 2013 Posters on the Hill, to present their research to the U.S. Congress members. The event, hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research, recognizes student achievements in undergraduate research, according to a press release issued by Minot State University.

The 2013 MSU graduate presented “Addressing the hazards of post-flood mold to public health.” Burckhard began research his sophomore year with Mikhail Bobylev, associate chemistry professor. The goal was to design and synthesize compounds with antifungal or other medicinal properties for industry use.

The 2011 Souris River Flood gave Burckhard additional opportunities. Mold is a hardy substance for fungicide research, and the flood left an abundance of mold. So Bobylev, Burckhard and another student painstakingly collected mold samples from different colonies in two flooded properties. They sent the samples to an outside lab for identification, and their research provided important information about potential health threats and methods of treatment to health professionals.

The CUR selected Burckhard’s research project from over 800 applications. Bobylev will accompany Burckhard to Washington, D.C., and they will visit with North Dakota’s congressional delegation. Since 2008, three students of Bobylev have presented at Posters on the Hill.

“The CUR is a professional society whose mission is to promote undergraduate participation in research. This means fostering interest and success in the endeavor among undergraduates, encouraging faculty to become mentors and supporting institutions as they establish and develop undergraduate research programs,” Bobylev said in the press release.

Burckhard completed a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and biology at MSU. He is currently enrolled at the University of North Dakota Medical School, Grand Forks.