Last week students from Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, and Tennessee congregated in Starkville to attend Biochemistry Boot Camp, a program sponsored by the National Science Foundation and organized by Dr. Nick Fitzkee to teach young researchers how to more effectively use computers in their biochemistry research.
“Undergraduate biochemistry is a great course, but we simply don’t have the time to teach all of the skills that students need when they first walk into a research lab,” Fitzkee said. “Biochemistry Boot Camp is designed to show new researchers that they can save a lot of time at the bench by familiarizing themselves with some simple computer software.”
The program lasted three days, June 7-10, and over 60 students attended, including 12 students from the University of Alabama’s summer REU program. Other faculty participants included Dr. Christopher Johnson from MSU and Dr. Matt Thompson from UA’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
“It’s exciting to see the growth of biochemistry and biophysics in the southeast. This program not only trains students to be better scientists, it also allows those students to form relationships with other student researchers in the region,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of value to that.”
The students agreed. Madison Hejny is an undergraduate researcher in Fitzkee’s lab who is participating in summer research. “The program was intense, but it really helped me to understand how I could use computers to streamline my research,” Hejny said.