Luke K. Miskov, a biology major, is one of 10 Carroll University students awarded a Pioneer Scholars grant for summer 2011. He is a 2008 graduate of Whitnall High School and son of Stevan and Kathryn Miskov of Hales Corners. Luke will work with Dr. Monika Baldridge, assistant professor of biology, on a project entitled, "In Utero and Lactational Exposure of Perinatal Sprague-Dawley Rats to Glycitein Disrupts Ovarian Follicle Maturation."
The team will examine the effects that soy isoflavones have on developing reproductive tissue, specifically the ovary, to determine implications for human female reproductive health. Isoflavones are phytoestrogens (plant estrogens that can interact with human estrogen receptors) found in soy products. Phytoestrogens could interfere with normal hormonal activity and potentially have adverse effects upon exposure. Ongoing research suggests that isoflavones can alter tissue development.
In previous years, with other Pioneer Scholars, Baldridge has researched the genestein and diadzein isoflavones. This summer, she and Luke will look at how a third isoflavone, glycitein, impacts ovarian development. Currently, about 25 percent of baby formula contains soy. If these phytoestrogens have adverse effects on developing reproductive tissue, consumers might not want to continue use of these products. As Baldridge and Luke's research will examine in utero and lactational exposure, it will also have dietary implications to mothers, who might wish to minimize the amount of the phytoestrogens consumed while their babies develop.
Carroll University's Pioneer Scholars Program, established in 2007, provides undergraduate students the opportunity to engage in scholarly activities one-on-one with a faculty member. The students receive $3,000 to participate in a full-time summer research or creative project. Additional funding for research and supplies and/or travel to present project results also is available.
Carroll, Wisconsin's oldest four-year institution of higher learning, is an independent, co-educational comprehensive university grounded in the liberal arts tradition. Incorporated in 1846, it offers bachelor's degrees in 45 majors and master's degrees in business administration, education, physician assistant studies and software engineering, as well as a clinical doctorate in physical therapy.
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