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Spring 2004 - Freshman

Destination Purdue > Spring 2004 - Freshman

Freshman helps make meat healthier

By Kori Kamradt

One Purdue University student knew that she wanted to do research, but what she didn't know was that she could do it her freshman year.

Gordon and Latour

Photo provided by Lindsey Gordon

Gordon and Latour answer questions after presenting their research.

Lindsey Gordon, an animal sciences major from Granger, Ind., decided she wanted to do more than just learn in class; she wanted to get involved in one of the many research projects going on at Purdue. "I've always been interested in science, and going through the thought process of trying to figure things out like you do in research has always appealed to me," Gordon said.

In an introductory animal sciences course, Gordon approached her professor, Mickey Latour, and asked him how she could become involved in a research project in the animal sciences department. To Latour, Gordon really stood out above the rest of the students who applied to work on the project. Now, Gordon is contributing to research that is trying to help Americans eat better. "You can just see the enthusiasm and passion Lindsey has for research," Latour said.

Gordon started working with Latour and graduate students in October 2003 to raise one kind of fatty acid and lower another found in meat. They are trying to raise Omega-n3 fatty acid, which can reduce risk of sudden death and blood clots. It also can unclog arteries and lower blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. Latour, Gordon and the rest of the research team want to raise Omega-n3 in bratwurst without losing any of the taste for health-conscious Americans.

"The project let me work closely with a professor and graduate students, and that's an awesome opportunity for a freshman."
Lindsay Gordon

Research experience isn't the only thing Gordon getting out of the project. She has presented a talk on undergraduate research opportunities and the summary of the project at her high school, the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics and Humanities in Muncie, Ind. Then in July 2004, she will travel to St. Louis to present at a national conference.

Latour said that this role is usually reserved for graduate students and professors. He hopes that she will set an example and that more undergraduates will want to participate in research. "Those starting college should seek out research opportunities right away," he said.

Gordon said that she has learned quite a bit from the project, and she is anticipating learning even more by working on other projects, including one this summer. She said that Purdue is a great place for research opportunities and that anybody who has even a small desire to do research should try to get involved in it from the beginning. She offers a warning, though. "Don't bite off more than you can chew," she said. "It is a lot of work."