The Thomson Research Fellowship supports student and faculty research collaboration on field-based or laboratory research in the Biological Sciences Department. Dr. M. Scott Thomson taught in the Biological Sciences Department for 22 years. During that time he mentored many students in his lab including 11 master's students. He believed that one of the strongest features of the education UW-Parkside offers in biology is the opportunity for students to collaborate directly with faculty in their research. He observed many times how these opportunities could motivate students to succeed and find their future paths in graduate school, medical and health careers, and in industry. He thought that offering a stipend to students for this work, and money for research supplies could make the opportunity to participate accessible to more students. This is what prompted the Thomsons’ gift in 2015 establishing the fellowships.

The Fellowship is open to all students who are declared majors within the Department of Biological Sciences (undergraduate or graduate students), and awarded in Fall and Spring semesters.

Award recipients are required to actively carry out independent research in collaboration with and under the supervision of a biological sciences faculty or academic staff member over two semesters (or a summer plus academic semester).

Recipients receive a $1,500 research stipend in addition to $1000 provided through the research advisor for research supplies and support.

Students receiving the award are also required to present their research in collaboration with their research advisor as part of a departmental research symposium near the end of the project, and they are required provide documentation of any additional presentations of this research (published papers, conference talks, or outreach events).


Over 32 students have been awarded since 2015. 

Summer 2015 | Fall 2015
Julie Kessler | Dr. Greg Richards
Title:  The effects of the stringent regulators DksA and ppGpp on the glucose-phosphate stress response in E. coli

Valerie Riehl | Dr. David Higgs
Title:  Transcript analysis of alternative spliced CrXrn1-GFP reporter genes in Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Fall 2015 | Spring 2016
Sylvia Burns | Dr. Traci Lee
Title: Swapping promoters for Met31 and Met32 does not entirely explain their functional differences

Michelle Pruett  | Dr. Daphne Pham
Title: Evaluating the effects of the mosquito ribonucleotide reductase enzyme activity

Fall 2017 | Spring 2018
Malory Mueller  | Dr. Daphne Pham
Title: Expression and purification of the R1 and R2 subunits of RNR and optimization of RNR activities

Emily Walters  | Dr. Traci Lee
Title: Re-processing of raw RNA-Seq data and RT-qPCR to measure transcript levels in Met4 target genes in promoter swap strains

Summer 2015 | Fall 2015
Danny Wilson | Dr. David Rogers
Title: The effects of land-use: comparing vegetative compositions between old growth and secondary growth forest communities.

Fall 2015 | Spring 2016
Liv Gripko |  Dr. Jessica Orlofske
Title: Invertebrate delineation of Samuel Myers Park in Racine.

Hailey Henck | Dr. Natalia Taft
Title: Climbing sucks: do fin rays help?

Summer 2016 | Fall 2016
Michael Molinaro  | Dr. Natalia Taft
Title: Functional morphology of the fin rays of Acipenser fulvescens.

Fall 2016 | Spring 2017
Alejandro Quiroz  | Dr. Fabian Preuss
Title: Rescuing the food hemostat – applying a digest resistant maltodextrin in order to counter the effects of a high fat diet using a C57BL/6J mouse model

Nora Willkomm  | Dr. Jessica Orlofske Title: Morphometric analysis of riverine dragonflies.

Danielle Tesar | Dr. Jessica Orlofske
Title: Environmental variability regulates dragonfly emergence from Wisconsin rivers.

Fall 2017 | Spring 2018
Melissa Acosta | Dr. Chris Noto
Title: Using turtle shell preservation to understand depositional conditions at the Arlington Archosaur Site in Texas

Waynette McCracken | Dr. Jessica Orlofske
Title: Inferring food-webs from avian parasites

Fall 2017 | Spring 2018
Josie Ackmann  | Biological Sciences major | Dr. Jessica Orlofske
Title: The response of lentic aquatic invertebrates assemblages to simulated climate change.

Kimberley Mvetimbo Tambo  | Dr. Natalia Taft
Title: Comparative analysis of the material properties of the fin rays of the Coho Salmon

Fall 2018 | Spring 2019
Josie Ackmann  | Dr. Jessica Orlofske
Title: The response of lentic aquatic invertebrates assemblages to simulated climate change.

Kimberley Mvetimbo Tambo  | Dr. Natalia Taft
Title: Comparative analysis of the material properties of the fin rays of the Coho Salmon.

Fall 2015 | Spring 2016

Rebekah Mokry | Dr. Traci Lee
Title: Purification of GST and his tagged Met 4 complex proteins

Joseph Rouse  | Dr. Greg Richards
Title: Characterizing the effects of fructose metabolism on glucose-phosphate stress

Summer 2016 | Fall 2016
Emily-Lou LaMartina | Dr. Jessica Orlofske
Title: Development of a non-lethal molecular approach to evaluate population structure and dispersal for rare and endangered riverine dragonflies (Odonata gomphidae)

Fall 2016 | Spring 2017
Nicholas Bielski  | Dr. Jessica Orlofske
Title: Sublethal effects of climate change on aquatic invertebrate assemblages

Daniela Castellanos  | Dr. David Higgs
Title: Screening and analysis of new Chlamydomonas reinhardtii Xrn mutants

Jessica Castillo Venegas  | Dr. Rob Barber
Title: Characterization of a butyrate kinase from Desulfovibrio vulgaris str. Hildenborough

Brandi Cobe  | Dr. Greg Richards
Title: Connections of glucose-phosphate stress response to the stringent response in Escherichia coli.

Nicholas Malcolm III  | Dr. Daphne Pham
Title: Establishing an assay for ribonucleotide reductase assay

Joseph Rouse  | Dr. Greg Richards
Title: Characterizing novel connections between the glucose-phosphate stress response and the stringent response in nutrient starvation

Fall 2017 | Spring 2018
Megan Augustine | Molecular Biology and Bioinformatics major | Dr. David Higgs


UW-Parkside invites you to join in advancing student faculty research in the biological sciences through a gift to the Thomson Research Fellowship.

Donate Today 


Thanks to Alice Thomson’s generous support, a new endowed gift of $25,000 to the Thomson Research Fellowship will be matched! Your gift will be doubled through this limited-time opportunity to receive a dollar-for-dollar match of your gift. To discuss this opportunity please contact Tom Krimmel, Senior Philanthropic Advisor, at

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