Neuroscience

All Majors & Minors

Robert McNamara

OVERVIEW

My research project focused on the reversibility of pregnancy induced cardiac hypertrophy. I looked at the effect of multiple pregnancies on this process of reversal. I looked at mice coming off a single pregnancy and coming off a second pregnancy to see if the second pregnancy led to differences in how long it took the heart to return to baseline levels of morphology and contractile function. We isolate the individual cardiac muscle cells and then electrically and chemically stimulate them. Our work examines the cardiac function and the effects of hypertrophy at the cellular level, a level is still fairly unexplored in the realm of cardiac physiology. We observed that there are differences in the morphology and some of functional parameters in the mice coming off of a second pregnancy, which leads us to believe that it may take the mice coming off of a second pregnancy longer to recover.

WHAT WAS VALUABLE ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE

There is a lot of medical and surgical skill involved in our procedure as we need to anesthetize the mouse, excise the heart, and then cannulate the aorta so that the heart can later be chemically broken down to the level of the individual cell. I got to choose where I wanted to go with my project, and I got a lot of great hands on research experience. It also helped to ready me as I transitioned into my honors project.

THE COOLEST PART OF THE EXPERIENCE

The coolest part of the experience was honing my surgical skill and working to isolate the individual cardiac muscle cells.

WHO I MET THAT MADE A DIFFERENCE

Dr. Bailey was an incredible mentor. Even though I had been in the lab for a while going into Summer Fellows, I was unsure how quickly I would be able to get into the swing of running the whole procedure and Dr. Bailey helped guide me to where I needed to be. She was always there to help guide us without being hovering over us. She gave us a lot of room for us to learn and explore the world of research without feeling alone. She really hit the nice balance between guiding us and teaching us what we need to know and giving us the freedom we need to learn and grow.

Class Year

2018

Hometown

Phoenixville, PA

Major

Biology and Neuroscience

Activities

Swimming

Admissions Senior Fellow

Tour Guide

Honors Research

PASS Instructor

WVOU Radio DJ

Little Bears Instructor