The mentor’s laboratory investigates electron microscopic/histological changes in synapses in mice following the loss of dopamine in the nigrostriatal pathway as a model for Parkinson’s disease (PD). These findings are correlated with functional/protein changes using motor behaviors (gait) and western blot analysis, respectively. Using a new progressive mouse model of PD by administering increased doses of the toxin, MPTP, the mentor has found that exposing mice to a socially enriched environment can, after the initiation of the loss of dopamine, slow down or block the neurochemical and motor behavioral deficits due to continued treatment with MPTP. The team has previously investigated the therapeutic effects of treadmill exercise in this same progressive MPTP model of PD in young and aged mice, along with testing several drugs to determine if this treatment will result in recovery/restoration of function.
The intern will work in a lab testing various drug or non-drug treatments in this animal model of Parkinson’s disease and/or carry out a project using the light and/or electron microscope. They will work closely with one or more of the research assistants, plus the mentor, in learning about the functions of the brain and the parts of the brain that are associated with PD. Once trained, the intern will work independently on their own project.
First-generation college-bound students are highly encouraged to apply for this position. Applicants should be aware that on-site parking may be limited and/or unavailable throughout the summer; interns may be required to rely on public transit or alternative transportation.