'Research opens your mind to new ideas'

Mahelet Mamo ’18

She is one of many students who take advantage of the multiple research opportunities available to Longwood undergraduates across a variety of disciplines. Student research is a major component of Longwood’s Quality Enhancement Plan, which is part of the university’s accreditation process.

Mamo, who plans to be a physician, has been working in Dr. Björn Ludwar’s electrophysiology lab since her freshman year and more recently with Dr. Amorette Barber on a project related to developing an HIV vaccine.

“I like research because I like to find a new way; I like to innovate,” said Mamo, a member of the Cormier Honors College. Other research projects conducted during fall 2016 and presented at the end of the semester in several poster sessions across campus included

  • “Party Animals: The Effects of Candidate Favorability on the Likelihood of Voting”
  • “False Memory: Can it be Created?”
  • “Effects of Cell Phone Presence on Anxiety Levels: Cell Phone Addicts Wanted!”
  • “Friend or Faux: Prosocial and Antisocial Social Media Use and Personality Traits”
  • “Smells Like Therapy: The Effects of Aromatherapy on Stress”
  • “Confidence in Big Business as a Proxy Measure of Views toward White Collar Crime”

Zach Fasana ’17, a biology major from Fairfax, will present his research results at a national conference next month. Working with Barber, Fasana examined the effectiveness of two ways to activate T cells, which are white blood cells that need to be activated to fight cancer. The project is part of ongoing cancer research being conducted in Barber’s tumor immunology lab.

“I came here wanting to be a doctor but now want a career in research. I’ve caught the research bug,” said Fasana, who plans to attend graduate school and study immunology. The lab experience is a huge part of grad school, so this will help me. You can’t really get this in a class.”

He will present his project, “Inhibitory receptors PD1 and CTLA4 differentially regulate NFkB activation in NKG2D- and CD28-costimulated CD T cells,” at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR).

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