11-0. A perfect Lake Forest record at Midwest’s premier neuroscience conference

Ashley Reich ’13 and Natalie Kukulka 13 won Second and Third Prizes, respectively, at the Chicago Society for Neuroscience (CSfN) 2014 meeting’s 11th Annual Undergraduate Poster Competition held at Northwestern Memorial Hospital on March 7. This is the eleventh year in a row that a Lake Forest College student has won a research prize at this venue.

Both students are biology and neuroscience double majors who presented their senior theses research at the conference. Both have investigated a long-term complex molecular biology project they initiated their first summer after freshman year. 

Reich conducted her research as a LFC-RFUMS fellow for the past three years in Dr. Michelle Hastings’ lab at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science and she is already a published author on this ongoing project.

Kukulka began her research as a Richter Scholar in Professor of Biology Shubhik DebBurman’s molecular neuroscience lab.  She is currently completing her project towards a manuscript for publication this summer. Natalie plans to pursue a career in academic medicine.

On receiving this honor, Reich commented, “Undergraduate research has always been really important for me to explore since I was a first-year student at Lake Forest. Doing research in Dr. Hastings’ lab has pushed me to think more critically in the lab and in the classroom.  Scientific research really excites me, and all I want to do is share new advances in the scientific field with my peers whether that be the research I am doing with Dr. Hastings or the primary articles I read in my classes at Lake Forest. After graduation, I plan on attending graduate school for public health studies so I can  continue fostering my passion for research and sharing it with the public.”

Two other Lake Forest College students presented their research as well:

Katrina Campbell 14, biology major and neuroscience major, presented work on Parkinson’s disease she is conducting in the DebBurman lab

Kim Diah 13, neuroscience and psychology senior, presented her senior thesis that she is conducting in Dr. Kuei Tseng’s lab at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science

Over forty-five neuroscience, biology and psychology students, including fifteen first-year students, attended this meeting. They were accompanied by Professors Shubhik DebBurman and Naomi Wentworth. The CSfN hosts the largest Midwest neuroscience meeting every year. It is composed of academic and industry-based scientists who are interested in the field of neuroscience.

The following Lake Forest College students have won awards at the conference since 2003:

2012
Sydni Cole 
’12, 1st Prize, will begin her medical school at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine or some other institution.

2011
Madhavi Senagolage 12, 2nd Prize,  PhD candidate in biology at Northwestern University

2010
Derek Atchley 10, 3rd Prize, PhD candidate in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience at Wayne State University 

2009
Michael Fiske 10, 1st Prize, PhD candidate in biology at University of Washington

Ray Choi ‘09, 3rd Prize, MD candidate at University of Colorado

2008
Stephanie Valtierra 08,  2nd Prize, PhD candidate in neuroscience at Northwestern University

Alexandra Ayala 09, Honorable Mention, math and science teacher, Teach for America 

2007
Michael White 07, 2nd Prize, MD 2012 (now pursuing neurology residency at Washington University)

2006
Michael Zorniak 07, 3rd Prize, PhD in neuroscience at University of Wisconsin- Madison

2005
Arun Paul 05, 1st Prize, MD 2012/PhD 2010, RFUMS (Oncology residency at Wayne State)

David Mann 05, 3rd Prize, MD Ross University (received 2010); MD Residency, Medical College of Wisconsin  

2004
Isaac Holmes 04, 1st Prize, MD (2009) Rush Medical College; MD Residency in cardiology, Rush Medical College (now Chief Resident)

2003
Jillian Hibler 04, 2nd Prize, DVM 2007, Washington State University

Nijee Sharma 04, co-3rd prize, MD (2011/PhD 2009) Loyola; MD residency in neurology at University of California Davis

Brandon Johnson 03, co-3rd prize, PhD (received 2010) and Postdoctoral fellowship, Stanford University