MDI Biological Laboratory

How INBRE Is Strengthening Maine’s Traditional Industries

  • April 11, 2016

INBRE Students Share Their Thoughts

The MDI Biological Laboratory is the initiator and leader of the Maine INBRE (IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence) program, whose goal is to strengthen biomedical research in Maine. More than 2,100 undergraduate students have received training in biomedical research at the MDI Biological Laboratory since 2001. An interesting aspect of the program is that, in addition to pursuing careers in biomedical research, many INBRE students also want to use their training to improve traditional Maine industries such as agriculture, forest products and marine resources.

Here are some of their observations about helping to improve the lives of farmers, loggers, fishermen and other workers in Maine’s traditional industries.

Heather LaFontaine

Major: Biology
University of Maine at Presque Isle

“My plan is to go to vet school to be come a large animal vet. I want to learn more about genetics and mutations because I want to specialize in the breeding of horses and cows. I’ve learned a lot in the MDI Biological Laboratory program about dominant and recessive traits and how they affect the progeny of the parents that can be applied to veterinary science. I want to be able to help Maine farmers improve their dairy cows and beef cattle: in order to produce the best product, you have to have the best genetics!”

Malcolm MacDonald

Major: Biology
University of Maine at Machias

“I want to go into the forest service. Maine is the most heavily forested state in the nation – the forest is its defining feature. I’m interested in conserving the state’s forest resources – and they do need conserving. The state has done a good job at protecting publicly owned forest resources, but 90 percent of the state’s forests are privately owned, and the logging companies don’t always use responsible harvesting practices. The work we are doing in the INBRE program relates directly to helping to keep the state’s forest resources intact.”

Chris Mullen

Major: Marine Science
Southern Maine Community College

“I’ve been fishing since I was two years old. I love the water and I love to fish. I want to continue my education in marine biology, specifically in fisheries management. I’ve been studying the stressors on eel grass in the program at the MDI Biological Laboratory. I know that eel grass isn’t the same as fish, but similar techniques can be applied to monitor stressors in fish populations. I want to help make sure our marine resources are there for the future.”