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Her work with James Dearworth, assistant professor of biology, appeared in Visual Neuroscience

By Courtney Morin ’10

Biology major Jennifer Romano ’10 (Medford, N.Y.) has coauthored a paper published in the international academic journal Visual Neuroscience.

The paper is the result of research Romano conducted as an EXCEL Scholar under the guidance of James Dearworth, assistant professor of biology. Other coauthors of the paper are former EXCEL Scholars Justin Blaum ’08, Jason Brenner ’07, Deborah Fink ’06, and Tory Littlefield ’06.

Romano and Dearworth studied the ciliary nerve on the eye of red-eared slider turtles. “I stimulated the nerve using a glass-tip electrode in order to find out how different currents and frequencies change the pupil’s response to light,” says Romano.

Their mission was to discover the optimal current and frequency of the signals in a live turtle. Through their research they have found that the optimal frequency is 100 Hz and 100 micro amps for current. “Anything much higher either causes less of a response or the response remains the same,” states Romano.

Romano’s main roles were helping with the last few experiments and revising the paper. “It was similar to the research I was doing on my own, so many of my turtles and experiments were used directly in the paper and averaged with the previous experiments done by other Lafayette students,” she says.

Romano is in the process of applying to veterinary schools. “It is harder to be accepted to veterinary school than medical school, which makes applying a difficult process. Research has given me an advantage with applying to veterinary school since many of them want to see that I am able to carry out research as well as work with animals,” she says.

She attributes many of the skills she has learned to her close interaction with Dearworth in the lab. “This work has taught me independence and discipline. I have never worked on a long project before and it takes a great deal of motivation to be able to keep up with the work. I think the lessons I learned from this research in general will help me, especially with the work I will have in veterinary school,” says Romano.

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