Returning to Research
Jul 05, 2011This fall, Derek Mattern ’11, Minot, N.D., will return to Germany where he studied abroad as a junior. This time, he is going as a Fulbright scholar.
Mattern studied in Jena, Germany, during his junior year. While there he got a job at a local laboratory where he met a scientist researching biochemical pathways in plants. Mattern’s connection to this lab, along with his double major in German and biology, led him to apply and receive a Fulbright research fellowship.
Mattern will study the coca plant and its biochemical pathways.
“If we discover a pathway that hasn’t been discovered, it could lead to the development of new drugs,” Mattern says.
He already has done extensive scientific research. In addition to his lab experience abroad, he studied lupus in mice with Concordia biology professor Dr. Krystle Strand and completed a research internship in St. Louis.
The Fulbright Program awarded Mattern with one of 80 research awards to Germany. He is the fourth Cobber to receive a research grant from Fulbright, says Dr. David Sandgren, Fulbright program organizer for Concordia.
“Research projects are more difficult to receive,” says Sandgren. “The competition is greater.”
Concordia will send three Fulbright scholars overseas this fall. The other two Fulbright scholars will be teaching English. This is the highest number of Fulbrights Concordia graduates have been awarded in a single year, says Sandgren.
Like many other scholars, Mattern will use this time to jump-start his career. He hopes to study biochemistry on a graduate level after his 10 months in Jena.
“I really enjoyed my first time [in Germany],” Mattern says. “I’m excited to go back.”