Gerren Welch: Institute of Medicine Fellowship recipient

The University of Maine’s Center for Undergraduate Research announced in November the first winners for two recently established fellowship programs.  Supported by the Office of Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, CUGR created the UMaine Institute of Medicine and UMaine Artificial Intelligence fellowships this year and awarded fellowships to fourteen undergraduate students for the 2020–2021 academic year. Undergraduate proposals were awarded $1,200 each.

Gerren Welch is an undergraduate student at the University of Maine majoring in physics and minoring in biology and mathematics. He is researching the computational analysis and classification of SHG images of cancerous pancreatic tissue based on collagen fiber alignment in the lab of Dr. Karissa Tilbury.

 “I really enjoy the hands-on stuff, getting to be in the room with the laser putting the samples in, imaging them, and finding the little things that come up and can be fixed; the research I am doing is a piece that fits in a larger whole,” Gerren said.

“My research may play an important role in speeding up what pathologists do, discovering cancer in people.” The research Gerren is doing is especially important because it helps with the early detection of pancreatic cancer, which generally can only be caught in the later stages.

“I am really able to focus on school and research thanks to the fellowship,” says Gerren, who also is a part of the music community here at UMaine. 

He says, “I, of course, love learning about physics and math, but the music community helps me keep my sanity throughout all of the studying.” Gerren plays the euphonium, trumpet, and trombone.