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Where Are They Now?

Mark Tapper

Mark Tapper. photo: Roger LePage, US EPA

Which Sea Grant researcher did you work with as a graduate student and what did you work on?

While I was a graduate student at the University of Minnesota Duluth (UMD) I worked with Randy Hicks, associate professor of biology. I researched virus form and abundance in the waters of Lake Superior. I also studied surface and subsurface bacteria populations to determine to what extent the bacteria were infected with temperate viruses using ultraviolet (UV) light, mitomycin C, and an electron microscope.

What do you do now?

Currently I am a research biologist for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, stationed at the Mid-Continent Ecology Division Laboratory in Duluth. Endocrine-disrupting chemicals are the main focus of my research. We are developing models to assess the estrogen-like properties of environmental contaminants. This model determines the ability of a chemical to induce vitellogenin, an egg yolk precursor protein, in male trout liver slices.

How did your graduate work prepare you for your current job?

Planning, organizing, and writing-up experiments are a large part of my current job. Prior to graduate school, I did not have the greatest planning skills and was a poor writer. Fortunately for me, these are skills at which Dr. Hicks is very accomplished. With his tutoring and patience, I learned to think ideas through more completely, which led to designing better research plans. While writing can still be painful and time-consuming, my graduate work forced me to became a more competent writer.

Did you receive any awards or fellowships as a graduate student?

I received a Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research grant while a graduate student at UMD.

Why do you think Sea Grant is a worthwhile organization?

For a number of reasonsůSea Grant outreach programs are important tools for informing and educating the public about environmental issues in the Great Lakes region, like exotic species. Equally important is Sea Grant's funding of high-quality research that has resulted in a more complete scientific understanding of the Great Lakes.


By Sea Grant Staff
August 2001

Return to August 2001 Seiche



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