Ben Hinz

Ben Hinz, Undergraduate student, Biomedical Engineering

Discovers genetic mutations

“Ben is in the top 1% of all the undergraduate students that I have interacted with over the past 24 years. He has an incredible ability to absorb scientific information, self-teach new material, generate interesting hypotheses, plan experiments to test his hypotheses, execute the research, and take projects to completion.” – Lori Wallrath, Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Hometown: Marion, Iowa
Faculty mentor/advisor: Dr. Lori Wallrath
What is your degree program and expected graduate date? I am pursuing a BSE in Biomedical Engineering and will graduate in May 2023.
Please describe your research: My research focuses on discovering the role that nuclear envelope proteins play in causing muscular dystrophies. We use fruit flies to model muscular dystrophies in order to work as efficiently and affordably as possible.
In simple terms, why does this research matter?  Muscular dystrophies are often inherited and extremely difficult to treat. It is important that we discover their mechanisms so that we can give individuals who suffer from muscular dystrophies a better quality of life. Our findings can be applied to other inherited disorders caused by these nuclear envelope proteins, such as lipodystrophy and premature aging.
How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started my research with Dr. Wallrath during the second semester of my freshman year.
How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? My involvement in research has helped me discover my career goals. I’ve also formed some amazing relationships with other researchers and learned valuable scientific and presentation skills that I use in my studies every day.
What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan on either exploring the biomedical engineering industry or attending medical school.

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