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Cedar Crest College Awarded Significant Grant from the National Science Foundation
Date:11/21/2013

ific research questions in place that students will begin exploring this fall.

Students will be investigating the role of herbal remedies as neuroprotective agents for neurons in diseases such as stroke (the third leading cause of death in the United States). Students working under the direction of Ettinger will use dissociated neurons from developing chick embryos to chemically simulate stroke, and then attempt to rescue those neurons using an herbal remedy such as Ginkgo biloba extract. They will study the cells using fluorescence microscopy, and use the newly obtained Port-a-Patch instrument to examine ion channels in those cells.

To complement these studies, undergraduates in the laboratory of Karnas, will use cells prepared by the neuroscience students to study differential gene expression using the newly obtained Rotor-Gene Q. By examining the cellular, physiological, and genetic differences in these neurons, they will gain a broader picture of cell death and the effectiveness of the herbal supplements in saving these vital and irreplaceable cells.

Cedar Crest’s Department of Biological Sciences aims to help women and first generation college students develop the skills necessary for success in STEM professions through conducting original research and working in collaborative learning groups. Additionally, the research using the Port-a-Patch and Rotor-Gene instruments is expected to engage students in the process of discovery. The open-ended nature of the research topic allows students to design their own experiments, enhancing their learning experience and allowing input from students with various viewpoints. Participating students will gain skills in experimental design, collaborative research, multiple technology platforms, and data presentation, all crucial for leadership positions in academia and industry.

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