Spotlight #9: Austin Hingtgen: Fertility Effects of a Spontaneous Coat Color Mutation - Advisor: Dr. Demelza Larson

Throughout research there are always unanswered questions that emerge. Whether you chose to leave them up to someone else to answer or muster up the courage to face the challenge yourself, is solely up to you. During my prior research on corneal thickness a spontaneous coat color mutation arose in a colony of lab mice. Along with the coat color change, female mutant mice were displaying reduced fertility. This led to several unanswered questions that provoked my curiosity, such as what gene was being mutated and how this mutation was phenotypically affecting a mouses reproduction. So, with these unanswered question, I found my inspiration to dive head first into my research topic.

Think Deeply. Research in itself requires a certain level of critical, creative, and complex thinking. Beginning a project from scratch is an intricate task as it requires managing different aspects of the project and using significant problem solving skills to find methods of evaluation that assist in the goals of the project. My lab advisor, Dr. Demelza Larson, fortunately gave me the power to choose what approach to take to investigate the phenotypic effects of the mutation in our colony of mice. With this power it took much creativity and investigation, a couple trips to Menards, and lots of searching around the lab to piece together a cardiac perfusion system that would allow for the best analysis of the organs of the mouse reproductive system.

If there is one piece of advice I could give to any student coming to CSB/SJU, be bold and don't wait for opportunity to come to you because that may never happen. Search out opportunities and they will present themselves. There are so many opportunities right in front of you that will pass you by if you aren't looking for them.

What else are you involved in on campus?

Emergency Medical Technician, Global Medical Brigades trip to Honduras, Biochemistry Club, Student Health Assistants, St. Baldrick's Foundation Fundraiser.