‘I’m hooked on that feeling’ of discovery

UTA junior selected as summer research assistant at renowned Marine Biological Lab

Monday, Mar 02, 2020 • Dana Jennings :

Matthew Fiedler, sophomore exercise science student at The University of Texas at Arlington " src="https://cdn.web.uta.edu/-/media/project/website/news/releases/2020/02/fiedler-matthew--posed.ashx?la=en&h=3450&w=5175" _languageinserted="true

A junior exercise science student at The University of Texas at Arlington has earned a summer position as a research course assistant at the renowned Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL).

Matthew Fiedler will assist with instruction of a physiology advanced research training course at the lab for seven weeks this summer. Highly adept in imaging techniques, Fiedler will help professors in the classroom and with hands-on microscopy lessons.

“This is an exciting honor and an outcome I didn’t exactly expect,” Fiedler said. “Just a few weeks ago I thought I’d be spending my summer at UTA, and now I’m off to Massachusetts for the opportunity of a lifetime. I’ll have the chance to work with new varieties of species samples while building my skills in teaching technical research concepts.”

Each year, MBL courses attract a diverse population of approximately 500 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from more than 300 institutions in over 30 countries. Fiedler will lead these esteemed pre- and postdoctoral trainees as an undergraduate with two years left to complete his bachelor’s degree.

Fiedler is a research assistant in the laboratory of Marco Brotto, the George W. and Hazel M. Jay Endowed Professor in UTA’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation and director of the Bone-Muscle Research Center.

“I hope Matthew spends this summer engaging in work that sparks a long-term academic career and starts his journey to becoming an independent investigator,” Brotto said. “Should he raise and harness a passion for something, whether it’s a concept or technique, it will serve to advance our lab as a whole when he returns. I am certain Matthew will be a fantastic addition to MBL and show them the true power of UTA research.”

Fiedler originally applied for a volunteer internship at the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Upon seeing his resume and practical experience, a director from that organization suggested Fiedler investigate the course teaching opportunity at MBL. The director then assisted in the process of his acceptance to MBL.

“We were thrilled to learn that the skills he’s mastered have earned him positive attention and directed him to perhaps an even better summer experience,” Brotto said. “It shows the importance of applying for opportunities.”

Fiedler connected with the research community at UTA just four weeks into his freshman year. He quickly learned the importance of speaking with professors about his interests and exploring research on campus.

“Many students are intimidated by research, especially as undergraduates,” Brotto said. “But if their eyes are opened to what is taking place around them, they might have an interest sparked. Then once they get a taste of conducting research and making a discovery, they’re addicted.”

Fiedler is living proof of Brotto’s philosophy.

“As I look through a microscope and find something, there’s a few moments in which I’m the only one who knows what has been unlocked beneath that lens,” Fiedler said. “I’m hooked on that feeling. I love research. I would love to spend the remainder of my working life doing research.”