Laura Sloofman is a third year Quantitative Biology major, with minors in Bioinformatics and Bioelectrical Engineering, at the University of Delaware. She grew up in Ardsley, New York and decided to attend UD because she had a strong interest in participating in biological research. With the Department of Biology receiving millions of dollars in research grants, she realized the many opportunities that would be available to her. Plus, the beauty of the campus felt like home to her.
Laura's love for science began in elementary school while watching Bill Nye the Science Guy. Originally a biology major, it was Professor Schleiniger who recognized her mathematical talent and encouraged her to switch to a major that combines biology with mathematics. Since joining the major, Laura has developed a mathematical model describing the creation of a network of food tubes in slime model with her MATH 512 team as well as written MATLAB programs to read data from her biological experiments. Her favorite math classes are those directly applicable to other fields such as Numerical Analysis (MATH 426 and 428).
In her third year of undergraduate research, Laura is a member of the Carson lab investigating the effects of RPL29 knock-out on bone structure and rigidity. Most of her work is done on the micro-CT (micro computed tomography), where she scans and analyzes bones. Laura enjoys relying on her investigative skills to solve this real-life problem whose answer is unknown. The summers are her favorite research months because she is a fulltime researcher in the Summer Scholars program.
Laura's role model is her current mentor Professor Catherine Kirn-Safran. It was from working with Professor Kirn-Safran in the lab that she realized this profession is her calling. She not only admires Professor Kirn-Safran's scientific ability, but also her ability to balance her busy schedule. Watching Professor Kirn-Safran has reassured her that a woman can be both an active scientist and active mother.
As a co-first author on a paper published in the Journal of Orthopedic Research, Laura is already an active and accomplished member of the biological research community. Last summer she won first place at the HHMI summer research symposium sponsored by Sigma Xi. For the third consecutive summer, Laura has been awarded the HHMI/Charles Peter White award to continue her research. Additionally, in the fall Laura won second place for her research poster entitled "Effects of diminished protein synthesis on bone anabolic response to load in RPL29-deficient mice". In mid-April, Laura will be presenting her research in New Orleans at the Experimental Biology conference.
At UD, Laura is involved with the service organization Circle K as well as SAGE (Students Acting for Gender Equality). She is the historian for the Math Club and also volunteers at Christiana Hospital. This winter, Laura participated in the UD Study Abroad program and traveled to London. She visited various museums in London and took a side trip to France, but hopes to return to Europe and continue her exploration. Reading is a hobby of Laura's (not school books, of course) and wishes she had more time for it. She is also a very active person, participating in Pilates, kickboxing, and step aerobics classes. In fact, last month she even went spelunking with the Outing Club!
Laura will graduate in May 2010. After graduation, she plans to pursue her dream of earning a Ph.D. and visiting Australia. Clearly, Laura is a successful, ambitious woman who also has a fun, playful side and a very bright future ahead of her.