January 29, 2016

SVSU profs to use Braun Fellowship fund to study diet and exercise of pregnant women, drugs used for diabetes

Two Saginaw Valley State University faculty members will study common health issues through support from SVSU’s Braun Fellowship.

Meghan Baruth, assistant professor of health sciences, will research behavioral intervention programs aimed at improving the diet and exercise of pregnant women. Jennifer Chaytor, assistant professor of chemistry, will study and modify drugs used to fight Type 2 diabetes.

Through SVSU's Braun Fellowship, Baruth and Chaytor will each receive research support grants totaling up to $37,500 over the next three years to further their scholarly and professional activities. Funds may be used for research expenses, equipment, travel and/or other related support.

As part of her research, Baruth plans to publish research papers on a pilot behavioral intervention program aimed at improving the diet and exercise of pregnant women. She also plans to present those findings at national conferences, attend a grant-writing workshop by the National Institutes of Health, and pursue grants that would help expand on her findings. The initiative also will involve research opportunities for undergraduate students.

Baruth joined SVSU’s health sciences faculty in 2013. She completed a Ph.D. in exercise science at the University of South Carolina; a master’s degree in exercise science from North Dakota State University; and a bachelor’s degree in community health from Bemidji State University in Minnesota. She also worked as a post-doctoral fellow at University of South Carolina.

Chaytor plans to task undergraduates with helping her study drugs used to fight Type 2 diabetes. The research will involve synthesizing and evaluating compounds based on structures of drugs already on the market while investigating modifications that could more effectively combat Type 2 diabetes. Chaytor said she and her students plan to submit research papers for publication in peer-reviewed journals and present at national conferences.

Chaytor joined SVSU’s chemistry faculty in 2012. She earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from University of Ottawa in Ottawa, Ontario; and a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario. Chaytor also worked as a post-doctoral fellow at University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta.

Established in 2005, the Braun Fellowship program was created through a $1.5 million endowment from the Saginaw-based Harvey Randall Wickes Foundation.  Administered by the Saginaw Community Foundation, the program's purpose is to recognize the exceptional accomplishments and potential of select SVSU faculty and staff.  It is named in honor of Ruth and Ted Braun of Saginaw.