Biology Grad Publishes Two Genome Papers

Amiera Rayyan, who completed her Bachelor of Science in Biology at Bellevue University in June, has recently had two papers published in Microbiology Resource Announcements. The first paper is entitled Draft Whole-Genome Sequence of the Purple Photosynthetic Bacterium Rhodopseudomonas palustris XCP, while the second is Draft Genome Sequence and Brief History of Rhodovulum sp. Strain BSW8.

Rayyan served as the lead author of the papers. Co-authors are Terry E. Meyer from the University of Arizona and Bellevue University’s own Dr. John Kyndt. Rayyan’s accomplishment stands out beyond the publishing achievement itself:

  • They are the first papers published for Rayyan. Even at larger universities it is rather unusual for an undergraduate student to get a first author publication during his or her undergraduate studies.
  • They are the first papers by an undergraduate science student at Bellevue University where the research was done entirely in the University’s science labs.
  • It marks the first bacterial genome sequenced at Bellevue University.

“This is wonderful news,” said Mary Dobransky, Dean of the College of Science and Technology. “This achievement prompted me to think about the positive influence Bellevue University has on our students and society. While this is true of higher education in general, it is especially strong in Bellevue University’s student-focused, open-access, innovative environment. I greatly appreciate the work the entire College of Science and Technology team does to help our students succeed. Amiera’s success is our success.”

The papers emerged from Rayyan’s senior thesis project. She relished the opportunity to use the University’s new genome sequencer versus conducting a review of already completed research.

“At that point no one had used the MiniSeq yet,” she said. “I thought that sounded much more fun. It incorporated techniques that I could practice, so I thought that would be the better route.”

Amiera1-1024x683Rayyan, a graduate of Bellevue East High School with an undergraduate from Creighton University in Medical Anthropology in addition to her Bellevue University degree, is now weighing her career options.

“Whatever career I end up going toward, I think this is a great motivator,” Rayyan said of her publishing efforts. “It keeps the ball rolling for me. Let’s keep going to see if we can do more of it.”

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