Seung-yun Kim, assistant professor of computer sciences at Shepherd University, worked with two local high school teachers who were awarded a $36,000 grant through the West Virginia IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence program.
Wendy Lee, science teacher at Musselman High School in Inwood, and Denise Gipson, science teacher at Jefferson High School in Shenandoah Junction, asked to work with Kim based on his abstract published in the WV-INBRE research directory.
The grant allowed the teachers to work with Kim for nine weeks this summer as he researched modeling and simulation of malaria and medication interaction.
Each teacher received a stipend of $13,000 and the additional $10,000 was used for Kim's lab supplies to conduct the research.
The group modeled human system using Petri Net and introduced malaria and then introduced three different types of prescription drugs to simulate the reaction of the malaria. They then used Tina, a Petri Net modeling and simulation tool, to compile a final report. Kim said that their work will be published in a paper in the coming year.
Gipson, who has a Master of Science in biochemistry from the University of California at Davis, said that the program allows her to see what has changed and stayed the same in her field of study.
"It's a positive experience," Gipson said. "It's nice to see bio-chemistry and computers combined, update our skills, and establish professional contacts."
Gipson, Lee, and Kim traveled to the 10th Annual WV-INBRE Summer Research Symposium at Marshall University on July 28 where Gipson presented on the group's findings to date.
Gipson said that she hopes to continue a partnership between Jefferson High School and Shepherd and that the experience is a valuable opportunity for high school teachers.
"This provides a way to do research on up-to-date information in science that we can take back to high school students," said Lee.
Kim said that this is the first time to have high school teachers work with the computer science, mathematics, and engineering department at Shepherd.
"It's a good opportunity to have connected, and we plan on publishing the research we have completed," Kim said.