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Welcome New Students!
The Neuroscience Interdepartmental Graduate Program welcomed three new graduate students this fall. We are very excited to have them here at Iowa State University!
Kasandra Diaz Santana
Kasandra joins us from the State University of New York, New Paltz where she earned a bachelor's degree in Psychology with a Psychobiology concentration, minoring in Evolutionary Studies. She is pursuing a PhD degree in Neuroscience and is currently completing research rotations with faculty of interest. Following the rotation period Kasandra will select her major professor and home lab.
Kasandra's passion for research grew from multiple research experiences during her undergraduate studies. For the past year Kasandra was involved in research with Dr. Nancy Shwartz developing a multifactorial murine brain injury model. Assessing gene expression changes in astrocyte, neuron, oligodendrocyte, and precursor cell markers in postnatal day 6 mouse using mRNA in situ hybridization and qPCR. Kasandra is interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in degenerative disorders. In particular, she is interested in the effects neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's have on neural stem cell differentiation.
Why did Kasandra choose Iowa State University and the Neuroscience Graduate Program?
"While attending SACNAS I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Matthew Ellinwood who introduced me to the neuroscience graduate program here at Iowa State. When I got home I started to do some research on the program and fell in love with the collaborative aspect of the program and with the research that individuals like Dr. Stegemoller are conducting."
For the past two years Robyn has been working at the National Animal Disease Center. Her work has included performing immunohistochemistry (IHC) protocol on brain and retina sections with various antibodies, proposing her own IHC protocol to improve staining. Through a combination of courses, research experiences and conference attendance, Robyn has discovered a particular interest in prion diseases and Alzheimer's.
Robyn earned her bachelor's degree in Genetics at Iowa State University. She is beginning her doctoral studies in Neuroscience, entering on rotation. Robyn will be selecting a major professor and home lab during the spring semester.
Why did Robyn choose Iowa State University and the Neuroscience Graduate Program?
"I enjoyed my time at Iowa State University and the many opportunities it provided me to experience research first hand while completing my undergraduate degree. I chose Iowa State again because I wanted to continue to learn and expand my research knowledge in this great environment and school. "
Eric views the pursuit of graduate study and research in the field of Neuroscience as an opportunity to address a variety of social issues. As an engineer he is uniquely poised to address the things he sees as challenges, working towards creative solutions to neurological issues. Working collaboratively with Dr. Bigelow and Dr. Willette during his undergraduate studies, Eric conducted research stimulating the motor cortex of sheep brains using ultrasound. In the lab of Dr. Hashemi he was also a part of investigating the results of subjecting polymer microfibers covered in adult neural stem cells to mechanical forces. Eric hopes to further investigate selective ultrasound ablation as high precision, noninvasive brain surgery with possible implications for addressing issues such as addiction.
Eric earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Iowa State University where he majored in Mechanical Engineering. He is pursuing a PhD degree in Neuroscience and is currently completing research rotations with faculty of interest. Following the rotation period Eric will select his major professor and home lab.