Chanasei Ziemann

Chanasei Ziemann


Biochemistry, Biological Sciences


Chemistry, Mathematics

Hickman, NE

Why you chose your major

I've always been interested in science and math throughout middle and high school, so I came in to UNL as a declared Biology major. Biology is my favorite subject, so I chose it out of interest in learning more about the subject. As I met with my academic advisor, I first decided to pursue a Math minor because I only had to take a couple more classes than originally planned and it was a subject I enjoyed. I later added a Biochemistry major, as I believed it would be beneficial to focus on in preparation for graduate school and a career in research. Since Biology and Biochemistry have a lot of overlap, I am able to double major rather than having Biochemistry as a minor. The Biochemistry major automatically comes with a Chemistry minor because of the complete course overlap for the Chemistry minor and Biochemistry major requirements.

Favorite and/or most impactful course

I took BIOS 136: Virus Hunting as a freshman. It is a lab course that works with bacteriophage, which are viruses that attack bacteria. The course was set up as a semester-long experiment; this is different than most lab courses that typically perform different experiments every week. We extracted bacteriophage from soil samples we collected, and throughout the semester we isolated, purified, and amplified the bacteriophage, performing protocols as needed. If the previous experiment didn't work, we would redo it, but if it was successful, we would move on to the next protocol needed. At the end of the semester, we extracted the DNA from the viruses for identification and characterization.

In the follow-up course BIOS 137, we used our DNA samples to study the genomes of our viruses using bioinformatics. This class was my introduction to biology research; I acquired important laboratory skills and learned more about viruses. The experiences I gained further supported my goals to go into a research career. I now TA and lab prep for this course.

Research or internship experience

During Summer 2022, I was awarded a UCARE stipend to perform research at the Nebraska Virology Center. I worked with a professor on a project about interferons, which are proteins found in the immune system as an anti-viral response. I was able to experience firsthand what it would be like to have a career in research, which includes many failures that lead to some successes. It allowed me to fully understand how much work researchers do in order to produce useful results. I am continuing my virology research throughout the school year through an extended UCARE award.

Other involvement

UPC Nebraska, the Chancellor's Commission on the Status of People of Color, Teaching Assistant, UCARE Research

Why you chose Nebraska

UNL is close to home, and I would sometimes go to football games as a kid. Nebraska has high quality education and many opportunities to pursue, which was one of the biggest factors in choosing this university. Though there are many opportunities, UNL is also very affordable, which also was a deciding factor in pursuing higher education.
Student Ambassadors group

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