Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good

  • Marcus Wagner headshot

Marcus Wagner

I am currently a rising senior, Biology major here at Ursinus College.  I am also a member of the Mens’ Swim team, the president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, member of Cub and Key, and a tour guide in the admission office.  This summer I have had the unique opportunity to secure an undergraduate summer research fellowship sponsored by the American Physiology Society and as a FUTURE mentor sponsored by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  In Dr. Bailey’s research lab, we study the physiological effects that pregnancy has on the heart. 





Upon graduation in May of 2017, I would like to further my education on the graduate school level by pursuing a Phd in Biomedical Studies with a focus in cardiovascular physiology. This past summer I worked with FUTURE mentee, Caela Flake.  Caela and I explored the effects of multiple pregnancies on the heart.  I find the FUTURE program to be an important asset to upperclassmen and underclassman of the college.  The upperclassman have a chance to fulfill a “mentor” role and provide guidance to under classman, in Caela’s case: an incoming freshman.  This program helps students to continue and foster collaborative learning with other students and faculty-something that Ursinus fosters.  This program has helped me become closer to my faculty advisor, Dr. Beth Bailey, and numerous motivated underclassman that will continue to enhance research at Ursinus College.  I am very thankful and appreciative of this opportunity. 


In Dr. Baileys Research Lab, we study the effects of pregnancy on the heart. I specifically study the effects of multiple pregnancies on the heart.  In my study I look at the functional strength of individual cardiac muscles cells that have endured the stress of pregnancy three times.  In these heart cells, I examine their rate of contraction and relaxation in addition to the amount of calcium present within the cell.  I compare these isolated heart cells to other heart cells that have undergone the stress of a single pregnancy or no pregnancy. This past summer, I had the pleasure to work with future freshman Caela Flake, through the HHMI funded FUTURE program.  Caela has been studying the physical structures of the cells by examining the length and the width of isolated heart cells that have endured no pregnancy, one pregnancy, or three pregnancies. In future studies, we hope to continue to understand how multiple pregnancies affect the heart and how these understandings can be linked to an explanation of pregnancy through the means of a physiological or pathological hypertrophy.

My Research Conferences

I am planning to present my research from this summer of 2016 and the 2016-2017 academic year at the Experimental Biology Conference in Chicago, Illinois hosted by the American Physiology Society.

Life After Ursinus

Upon graduation, I would like to further my education on the graduate school level.  I am looking to pursue a PHD in biomedical studies.  I would like to continue cardiac research on the graduate school level.