Summer Research Experience Cements Career Plans

Alexa Iannitelli '18

January 09, 2018

Spending a summer researching at Emory University gave Alexa Iannitelli '18 a taste of a career in neuroscience research.

"This experience solidified my goals of pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience," says Iannitelli, who is interested in one day researching neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

Mentored by David Weinshenker, Ph.D., Iannitelli investigated the neural pathways involved in cocaine-seeking behaviors in rats who are under psychosocial stress. This models cocaine relapse in humans.

"The most interesting part of my research was the way my project combined genetic, behavioral and molecular techniques to approach the research question from multiple angles," she says.

Iannitelli was able to study at Emory through the McGrath Scholars Program, which is supported by an endowment created by former students and colleagues of Tom McGrath, emeritus professor of chemistry. McGrath was instrumental in establishing summer science research at Susquehanna.  

"My experiences at SU more than prepared me for this program. My laboratory techniques were on par, if not more developed, than other students in the program simply due to the learning opportunities I've been granted," she says.

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