Casey Ostheimer knows how to nurture

By Jordana Lenon

Casey Ostheimer in Iceland where she held a summer research position at Reykjavik University.

Recent University of Wisconsin–Madison College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) graduate Casey Ostheimer knows how to nurture herself and others. She managed classes in genetics, neuroscience, and kinesiology. She earned a double major in neurobiology and genetics, along with a certificate in Global Health. She even held a few part-time jobs, which included working in a stem cell lab, taking care of patients, and engaging in outreach to middle and high school students.

Ostheimer was an undergraduate research assistant in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center (SCRMC) and School of Medicine and Public Health faculty member Owen Tamplin’s Cell and Regenerative Biology lab. She was involved in projects related to hematopoietic stem cell development in mice and zebrafish, and live imaging of hematopoietic stem cells. Ostheimer, who was on the CALS Dean’s List, also received a Genetics and Genomics Distinguished Research Fellowship in 2021 for her lab work, which involved inserting a single nucleotide mutation into both leukemia and human embryonic kidney cells. She also assisted Damola Elujoba-Bridenstine, PhD, during her graduate work by analyzing the effects of gene knockouts in mice on immune and hematopoietic stem cells and later worked independently on the project. Ostheimer helped manage the lab’s mouse colony and performed general lab maintenance. She also continued her work as a patient safety attendant at SSM-Health during this time.

Additionally, Ostheimer spent a few hours each week as the student lab assistant for the Stem Cell Learning Lab at the Biotechnology Center. In that role Ostheimer set up the lab and spoke with middle school and high school students about her stem cell research. A partnership among the SCRMC, Biotechnology Center, and Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, the lab was launched through a Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment in 2008.

Casey Ostheimer evaluates a knee joint scan at the Institute of Biomedical and Neural Engineering.

If all that’s not enough, Ostheimer was also the Primate Center’s outreach and editorial intern and president of the Student Society for Stem Cell Research on campus. She was also a member of the national pre-health honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta (AED), participating in AED volunteer, professional, and advocacy events. She is now applying to medical schools and wants to specialize in trauma care and orthopedics.

While Ostheimer is deeply involved with academic organizations, she also believes in spending time on activities outside of academics and the lab. After playing on her high school volleyball team, she continued with club volleyball at UW–Madison. She thinks it’s important to set realistic goals and take care of oneself. Ostheimer knows how to nurture herself – and others: she grew up breeding and showing Holland Lop rabbits with her parents in Boscobel, WI, as well as raising chickens and propagating greenhouse plants. She also nurtured the campus community by volunteering with Slow Food for its Family Dinner Night.

From serving on the volleyball court to serving sustainable comfort food, Ostheimer looks forward to medical school and serving patients. In the meantime, she just wrapped up a summer research position at Reykjavik University, where she worked in its Institute of Biomedical and Neural Engineering.