Thursday, June 1, 2023

Three University of Iowa undergraduates, Nicole Boodhoo, Alexis Olson, and Deven Strief have won the 2023 Iowa Neuroscience Institute (INI) Summer Scholar Awards.

The INI Summer Scholar Program supports Iowa undergraduates planning to pursue research during the summer in the lab of an INI faculty member. As INI Summer Scholars, the students receive a stipend of $5,000 and have the opportunity to attend a summer undergraduate seminar series and a variety of informal events.

The INI Summer Scholar application process is highly competitive. Boodhoo, Olson, and Strief stood out for the quality of their research plans, mentor endorsement, and academic performance. In addition, Olson was named the Kwak-Ferguson Summer Scholar, an award supported through an endowment by UI alumnus Don Timm.

Boodhoo, a rising senior majoring in Biomedical Sciences from East Moline, Illinois, works in the laboratory of Gordon Buchanan, MD, PhD, associate professor of neurology. Her project focuses on the role of stress in mortality following seizure. The Buchanan Lab is a leader in research on the underlying causes of Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP.)

Olson, a rising junior majoring in Neuroscience from Antioch, Illinois, works in the laboratory of Kamal Rahmouni, PhD, professor of neuroscience and pharmacology. Her research will investigate whether the SerpinA3N gene in leptin-expressing cells impacts obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. In the central nervous system, leptin receptor signaling plays a pivotal role in the regulation of food intake and energy expenditure.

Strief, a junior majoring in Biomedical Sciences from Eldridge, Iowa, works in the laboratory of Michael Dailey, PhD, associate professor of biology. He will test the ability of a novel antioxidant compound, NACET, to reduce the effects of alcohol exposure on the developing mouse brain. There are currently no known treatments to ameliorate or prevent the negative consequences of alcohol on the developing fetal brain.

The Iowa Neuroscience Institute builds on the university’s decades-long tradition as a leading center for the study of neuroscience, promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and supporting innovation in foundational, translational, and clinical research.

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