Welcome ASURE Students
The Academic Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, more commonly referred to as ASURE, is currently in its second summer here at Dartmouth. ASURE is a nine-week program organized by the Dartmouth Graduate Studies Office, and according to ASURE’s Graduate Student Mentor Jenn Demers, the program “is designed to provide undergraduate students from other institutions with a glimpse into what graduate student researchers in the sciences do… here at Dartmouth.”
While at Dartmouth, this year’s six undergraduate students lived in the dorms on campus and have been enjoying a full calendar of social activities, research mentoring, access to current graduate students, and graduate school application preparation. According to Demers, “With six students coming from extremely diverse backgrounds, it’s been really great to watch them develop from timid students at the beginning of the summer, into confident researchers. I look forward to hearing where their studies take them in the future.”
They will end their summer by giving oral presentations about their research on August 1 at 3:30 pm in Cummings 200 at Thayer. They will also be presenting their research posters on August 13 at 4:00 pm in the atrium at Thayer. All are welcome to attend either or both presentations.
The Graduate Forum recently caught up with each ASURE student to learn a little more about where each of them is from, what they are researching, and where they hope to go after their time as an undergraduate. We will start by profiling three students this week and three students next week.
Tangeria Adams is a native New Yorker who comes to ASURE from Brooklyn where she will be a senior this fall at Brooklyn College majoring in psychology and minoring in neuroscience. Here at Dartmouth she is working closely with graduate students Heidi Meyer and Andrea Robinson in the lab of Professor David Bucci in the psychological and brain sciences department. Adams is actually working on two different projects this summer. Adams and Robinson are investigating “the effects of exercise duration on ADHD-like symptoms in spontaneously hypertensive rats.” In the second project, Adams and Meyer are “looking at learned inhibition, specifically, conditioned inhibition in adolescent rats.” As an undergrad she works primarily on studies relating to older adults, so to now be conducting research using animal models is a brand new experience for her. The research is important to Adams because of its translational nature; the fact that the findings are applicable to the real world and may eventually inspire adjunctive or alternative human treatment options is very exciting. Adams enjoys the opportunities being in ASURE has offered her this summer, and is motivated by how much the program encourages her own thoughts and explorations in science.
When not working, Adams enjoys the camaraderie between the other ASURE students and herself. “We eat dinner together every night.” She also remarked that it’s been nice to be around so many trees and outdoor activities. “I’m enjoying the scenery and the quiet!”
Ridwan Hassen is originally from Atlanta, Georgia, but he now lives outside the city in the town of Marietta. He will be a junior next school year at Emory University in Atlanta where he is double-majoring in neuroscience and chemistry. While part of the ASURE program this summer, Hassen is researching the PTEN gene and how it relates to the development of autism, more specifically, he’s exploring the potential for possible therapies relating to autism by doing exploratory research on phospholipase A2. “I’m really enjoying the research because I’m learning so much!” Hassen is working with Assistant Professor Bryan Luikart in the physiology and neurobiology department at the Geisel School of Medicine. Hassen hopes to one day apply to MD-PhD programs or complete a doctoral fellowship where his specialty will be neurology and/or chemistry.
When he’s not working in lab at DHMC, Hassen is taking advantage of the many outdoor activities there are in and around Dartmouth. Although quite different from the urban setting of Atlanta, Hassen is enjoying the rural feel of the Upper Valley. “I’ve gone canoeing and hiking… and I got into rock climbing this summer. I’d never been rock climbing before, and now I love it!”
Eileen Martinez will be a senior next year at Texas A&M International University in Laredo, Texas, which is also her hometown. Martinez currently majors in biology, but has strong interests in other life sciences such as immunology and toxicology. While here this summer she is conducting research on a specific type of bacteria and its impacts on the human immune system under the guidance of Professor Brent Berwin in the department of microbiology and immunology at the Geisel School of Medicine. After she graduates next June, she hopes to apply to PhD programs nationally, but emphasized that “Dartmouth is a top choice. I like it here.”
When not conducting lab work at DHMC, Martinez enjoys living in the dorms on campus and exploring the Upper Valley. She has had the opportunity to visit several summer festivals in and around the area, and greatly enjoys the thunderstorms, which there are few of in Laredo.
Tune in next week to read interviews with three more ASURE students in our two-part installment.
by Lisa Jackson