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Work of UW-Eau Claire Students Recognized at Undergraduate Research Symposium

RELEASED: Dec. 14, 2007

EAU CLAIRE — University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire senior Krista Carlson, Hartland, received a first place award for Outstanding Student Presentation when she presented the results of a group research project at the Seven Rivers Undergraduate Research Symposium held at Viterbo University in La Crosse on Nov. 2.

Annually, students are invited to the Seven Rivers Undergraduate Research Symposium to give a 15-minute oral or poster presentation of their research in the natural, health, behavioral or social sciences.

Carlson, along with assistant professor of biology Winnifred Bryant and junior Sarah Korb, Platteville, who was listed as the first author on the study, researched how "Xeno/Phytoestrogens Stimulate Transactivation in Estrogen Sensitive Genes in the Pituitary Gland."

"What we found is that xenoestrogen and phytoestrogen are much more potent that the estrogen found in our bodies, and that they activate the DNA promoters leading to unregulated cell growth," said Carlson. "This means that these two foreign estrogens have a strong carcinogenic response in cells containing estrogen receptors, such as pituitary, breast or uterine cells. This is very relevant to the general population because these substances [xenoestrogen and phytoestrogen] are given off as a byproduct of making plastic, find their way into our ground water in small amounts, and are then synthesized in soy plants and found in the soy products that everyone perceives as being healthy alternatives to meat," explained Carlson.

As first author Korb was unable to attend, Carlson presented the poster and research. The first place prize included a certificate and a gift card.

"I believe that this research is very important because it is finding sources of breast, ovarian and uterine cancer," Carlson said. "The more we understand the mechanisms of action and how we are being exposed to these carcinogens, the better we can understand the disease itself and how to prevent and treat it."

Carlson, who has been working on this research since July 2007, is double majoring in biology and art with a pre-veterinary medicine focus. Korb has a double major in biology and political science.

-30-

NC/NW

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