Biology grad student earns Sigma Xi grant

Jan 5, 2021 | Applied and Natural Sciences, General News, Research, Students

Caroline Rinderle, a student in the Master of Science in Biology program, was named a recipient of Sigma Xi’s 2020 Grants in Aid of Research (GIAR). She was one of only 101 grant recipients and the only student from the State of Louisiana to receive this highly competitive award. 

This award provides $1,000 for Rinderle to continue her thesis research investigating the role of the protein MED12 in regulating human adipose-derived stem cell adipogenesis.

Caroline Rinderle“This work is critical to our understanding of how fat cells evolve and how the fate of stem cells is determined,” said Dr. Jamie Newman, Rinderle’s advisor. “Without an appropriate knowledge of gene regulation, we cannot fully harness the potential of stem cells in the clinic or treat the obesity epidemic in our nation.”

Rinderle began her graduate degree while completing her bachelor’s degree in Biology through  Louisiana Tech’s concurrent enrollment program. She began conducting research in her junior year under Newman’s supervision and soon realized that she had an undiscovered passion for research, especially in the culturing and study of human stem cells. 

“It is amazing to watch cells divide in culture and be able to influence their path of differentiation,” Rinderle said. “It is exciting to know that the research I am doing will lead to a greater understanding of stem cell biology and influence medicine in the future.” 

Rinderle’s research was put on hold when the lab closed March 13 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Despite the setback, the researcher remained focused on her goals, spending that spring quarter immersed in the scientific literature and working on her thesis proposal. 

Rinderle completed her bachelor’s in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, graduating with a perfect 4.0 GPA in Fall 2020 and has excelled in the lab since it reopened. She looks forward to sharing her research at upcoming virtual conferences including the Louisiana Academy of Sciences annual meeting. She plans to complete her master’s degree in May 2021 and then work as a research technician in preparation for a PhD program in the near future. After that, Rinderle hopes to teach and mentor students as a university as a professor.

One of the oldest and largest scientific organizations in the world, Sigma Xi, which translated means “Companions in Zealous Research” has been supporting research and service for over 125 years. The Sigma Xi GIAR has been funding undergraduate and graduate student research since 1922, supporting the mission of Sigma Xi to train the next generation of scientists and engineers to serve society.

Eight Louisiana Tech students have received one of these competitive research awards since the Louisiana Tech Sigma Xi Chapter was reactivated in 2013.  For more information on Tech’s chapter contact the current chapter president, Dr. Heidi Adams (