Fall 2015

[News]

With Winery Success, Alumni Fund Stem Cell Internship

Abigail Petersen and Samantha del Campo (far left) give donors Don Bremm and Sharon Hanks (far right) a tour of HSU’s cell culture lab. There, Professor Amy Sprowles shows the cryopreservation system where mice neural stem cells are stored.

THE CONNECTION BETWEEN wine and stem cell research isn’t immediately obvious, but after you get to know alumni Don Bremm (‘88 Natural Resources) and Sharon Hanks (’79 Psychology), owners of Moonstone Crossing Winery in Trinidad, Calif., it starts to make perfect sense.

With a family history of cancer and oncologists in the family, Bremm and Hanks know the positive impact stem cell research can have on health outcomes. Pairing that experience with a desire to give back to the community brought them to Amy Sprowles, professor of Biology at Humboldt State.

“We knew we wanted a specific giving opportunity that spoke to our passions, a way to give that would allow us to really make a difference. After attending a talk given by Amy about her research and then meeting one of the students working in her lab at the winery, we knew helping with the stem cell research happening at HSU was the right fit for us,” says Bremm.

Hanks and Bremm decided to establish the Moonstone Crossing Cancer Research Assistantship, a summer internship in the stem cell laboratory at HSU.

“We wanted to keep our giving local, as alums we have a fondness for HSU, and Amy is running a great program,” says Hanks.

Funding a student research assistantship appealed to Bremm and Hanks. “If you’re supporting the growth of a person, you’re making a long-lasting difference,” says Bremm.

Cellular and Molecular Biology majors Abigail Petersen and Samantha del Campo were thrilled to learn they were chosen as this year’s student research assistantship winners. As they both consider medical school, the lab opportunity gives them hands-on experience that will help them decide whether they want to practice medicine or pursue research.

“I’ve learned that research can be really difficult at times and frustrating, but also very rewarding,” says Petersen, who’s worked in the lab for the past year.

“We hope to keep funding the award and want to inspire others to give to their passions as well,” says Bremm.