Julia Rocereta of Barto is conducting neuroscience research this summer at Muhlenberg College. Rocereta, class of 2019, a neuroscience major, views research as a place where creativity and scientific techniques meet, and where complex problems can be solved.
This summer, her interest in research, and in the fields of molecular biology and molecular neuroscience, has led Julia to work with Jeremy Alden Teissere, associate professor of biology and neuroscience.
Julia’s project is a continuation of research being conducted in Teissere’s lab, where natural plants are used to test for modulation at the primary inhibitory neuro-receptor, the GABA receptor. Her specific research is focused on the monoterpene limonene, a chemical found in citrus fruits, which has been shown behaviorally to induce a hypnotic state and relieve anxious tendencies. If limonene does affect the GABA receptor, it may be an alternative to synthetic anxiety medications.
More than 60 students are collaborating with faculty on a variety of research projects this summer as part of Muhlenberg’s vibrant research community. Topics can be student or faculty-driven, and span the natural and social sciences, humanities and arts. Students are typically on campus for 8-10 weeks of full-time research and receive a stipend, housing and college credit.
The undergraduate research participants join in a weekly summer seminar series in which students discuss their work and an annual poster session allows students to present their work to the campus community at large. Students may also travel off-campus to present their scholarly work in their discipline at regional, national and international conferences, with travel funds provided by the school.