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Looking at the Telltale Heart: Marcus Wagner ’17

Marcus’s research has personal meaning for him, as an athlete who swims the mile. Some athletes, especially marathoners, have experienced a high rate of heart failure.

Although his current research addresses the size of the heart during pregnancy and post-pregnancy, Wagner, ’17, sees it as having future implications for controlling stress on the heart.

His research, “The Effects of Multiple Pregnancies on the Murine Heart: Are changes in pregnancy-induced cardiac function exacerbated after multiple pregnancies?” has earned him a National Summer Research Fellowship from the American Physiological Society (APS). He is one of just 24 Fellowship recipients from a worldwide applicant pool, and the only one who is completing a research project at a liberal arts college.

Ursinus is one of the few liberal arts schools with the necessary research facilities on site to conduct this research, he says. “It is really cool to do the research here with top of the line equipment, and with a professor (Dr. Beth Bailey) who knows me well.” His current research is one of the first studies on multiple pregnancies.

A high school swim coach in Shavertown, Pa., recommended Ursinus to Wagner as he sought a place with competitive swimming and good academics. “Ursinus had everything I wanted and more. You want to feel you can take pride in the work you do,” he says. His initial interest in attending medical school switched to graduate school research.

Next year will be a busy one for the rising senior. The APS Fellowship includes a stipend to attend the Experimental Biology Conference in Chicago in April. Wagner will be captain of the swim team and represents Ursinus on the NCAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee. He is an Admission tour guide.

First, however, he will be extending his knowledge of the lab process to an incoming student as an HHMI-funded FUTURE (Fellowships in the Ursinus Transition to an Undergraduate Research Experience) mentor.