Spring 2017 Newsletter
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We get letters!
We are always delighted to receive letters from our former students! The following letter was sent to our director of instructional labs–STEPS, Dr. Margaret Kenna.
Dear Dr. Kenna,
I was a student at Lehigh from 2012-2014, and I was inspired to pursue research through the Biocore courses that you direct. I wanted to follow up on how you greatly influenced my research career, not only through these courses, but also when you wrote me a number of letters of recommendation as I pursued my research interests in marine biology and neurobiology in fish species.
When I transferred to UW-Madison, your letter allowed me to join the lab of Dr. Grinblat, where I studied zebrafish acoustic behavior and published data on how a genetic mutation in the cilia of their inner ear dampened their natural escape response behavior. This research experience led me to apply to graduate school, and I started my PhD in Neurobiology at Cornell University this Fall. This semester I have been investigating underlying differences in the physiology and gene expression of two main motor nuclei used for sound production in fish species: the pectoral motor and vocal motor nuclei. I have really enjoyed my time so far in the lab of Andrew Bass, and the above right is a picture of me holding my current model organism, the plainfin midshipman. This species essentially sings during the summer to find love and is a well-established model for the vocalization motor pathway. The below right is a photo of me and my neurophysiology rig, looking at how glutamate affects the midshipman's vocal response, which I am recording from the occipital nerves of the fish.
When I started at Lehigh, I was mainly interested in the organismal level of biology, but through your classes I discovered the importance of the molecular mechanisms underlying their behavior. I have been able to take my experience in the Biocore labs and turn it into a meaningful research career, examining the neural mechanisms underlying communication behavior in marine teleost species, and I couldn't be happier. The Biocore lab classes at Lehigh gave me an education in not only the most relevant and modern lab techniques in research, but also greatly assisted me in scientific literacy, writing proposals, and giving scientific presentations.
Graduate Student, Department of Neurobiology and Behavior, Cornell University
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