Honors Spotlight Star: Luca Walborn
Who’s lab are you in?
Dr. Kolwicz -Heart and Muscle Metabolism
What is the title of your research?
The Effects of the Ketogenic Diet on Cardiac Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury in Mice.
Give a brief summary of your research.
In a brief summary, what I do in the lab starts with a 6-week feeding period for our mice. We compare male and female mice both with groups eating the control chow diet and our ketogenic diet. After the feeding period, we give the mice an anesthetic, remove the hearts from the mice while they are still beating, isolate the aorta, and cannulate the heart on the Langendorff Perfusion Apparatus. Once baseline function is achieved, we then we expose the heart to an ischemia-reperfusion injury and study how it performs.
What was your motive for joining a research lab?
I have been in this lab and working toward this project since the spring of my freshman year. At first, I was just looking to join a lab to explore more areas of science that I haven’t seen yet, but I stayed in research all four years because I am lucky enough to study something that is so interesting to me and also have something different to work toward.
How has participating in research affected your college experience?
Participating in research has not only provided me with many connections with fellow students and faculty members that I would not have made otherwise, but it has also been so critical in my education here. I have been able to work hands on with something that aided in my understanding of topics in many other classes.
What has been the highlight of your research?
The highlight of my research so far has probably been participating in the summer fellows program this past summer. Here, I was able to solely focus on my project and acquire so much data that helped me formulate my research plan for my senior year. I also was able to work with the FUTURE program over the summer and had the best mentee that is also still in the lab!
What are your future plans for after graduation?
After graduation I am planning on going to medical school.
Any words of wisdom for perspective future researchers?
I would just say to join research as soon as you can and make the absolute most out of your time in the lab. Ask as many questions as you can and don’t be afraid to say you don’t know something.
Are there any fellow researchers or mentors you would like to thank?
I would absolutely like to that Dr. K for allowing me into his lab in the first place, for teaching me this challenging experimental protocol, and for aiding in my research experience. I would also like to thank Dr. Bailey, who has her lab two benches away, and has always supported me and provided great answers to my never-ending questions.