Reynolds and Sprungl, along with Brian Whitaker, Ph.D., associate professor of animal science and pre-veterinary studies, traveled to Savannah, GA, to present their research at the IETS’s conference in January.
Starting in the fall of 2019, under the supervision of Whitaker, Reynolds and Sprungl have been researching, oocytes, maturation, and in vitro fertilization of pig embryos. The reason they have chosen to study pigs is because pigs are often very comparative to humans in regards to medicine. The goal of their research is to better their knowledge of reproductive technologies to help further understand maturation and fertilization in animal science as well as its connection to human medicine.
Throughout this research process, Whitaker has helped guide Reynolds and Sprungl. “He (Whitaker) doesn’t like to admit it, but he is the backbone of our research,” said Reynolds. “He’s the brains and we are the power units, as far as doing the actual experiments, assays, and presenting the research.”
This past July, IETS sent out a call for research abstracts, Reynolds and Sprungl both responded by sending in abstracts discussing their research to the society. A few months later, IETS notified them that their projects were selected to be presented at the annual conference. At the conference, both Reynolds and Sprungl presented their noteworthy poster presentations. Sprungl’s poster was selected to participate in the undergraduate poster competition and she placed second out of hundreds of other participating students.
It was refreshing and beneficial for the trio to go to a conference in person, as most conferences, if not all, were virtual the last few years due to COVID-19. “The IETS conference was really fun and exciting. It was nice to talk with other scientists and even meet some very well-known scientists who have common interests in the field,” mentioned Sprungl.
Before traveling to Savannah, Reynolds had mentioned she had never flown before. “Outside of continuing my education, that is one of the many things this research has brought me. I was very excited to experience my first flight,” she said.
Along with her first flight, Reynolds also thanks the research for introducing her to Sprungl. “This research program has really brought the two of us together to be close friends,” she added. “She’s one of my closer friends at school now because we’ve spent so much time together in the lab.”
While in the beautiful and historical city of Savannah, Whitaker, Reynolds, and Sprungl took some time to enjoy the city and did some sightseeing. They were able to take a trolley tour, explore River Street, and more.
Both Reynolds and Sprungl, are also minoring in Biology and Chemistry, and will graduate in May 2022. They plan to continue their education in veterinary medicine and are currently waiting to hear back from their schools of interest.