college of arts & sciences

Undergraduate Research at UK with Zaheen Rabbani

Zaheen Rabbani graduated from the University of Kentucky in May 2012 with dual degrees in biology and psychology. Zaheen credits his undergraduate research experience with developing critical thinking skills and prepping him to apply to medical school this fall.

"I probably learned more doing undergraduate research than I would have in a textbook. I’ve learned how processes work. It’s a different mindset. It allows you to think critically and that will definitely help in my future career. I’m going to apply to medical school in the fall. I hope to do research there as well.

"I’ve always been interested in research. That was actually one of my main reasons why I chose this university is because of its research focus," Zaheen says.

He started working in Physiology Chair Michael Reid's lab as part of a Bio 395 course, which gives undergrads credit hours for conducting research. "Patients who undergo a lot of chemotherapy report losses in muscle function. So my research focused on what treatment options are available, and the main goal was to prevent muscle atrophy.

"I think that most people are terrified at the thought of reaching out to faculty members and saying, 'Hey, I want to do research. What can I do to contribute to your lab?' You’d be surprised how many faculty members will welcome you with open arms and cause they’re always looking for somebody to take under their wing and mentor."

Produced by Alicia P. Gregory (Research Communications), videography/direction by Chad Rumford (Research Communications)

This video appears courtesy of Reveal: University of Kentucky Research Media research.uky.edu/reveal/index.shtml

Randal Voss: Salamander Research at UK

At any given time, hundreds of salamanders are being bred at the University of Kentucky. "We have the only captive-bred salamander population in the world where people can call us up, and we can do the breedings, make those resources and ship them out nationally and internationally," says Randal Voss, a professor of biology and faculty associate of the Spinal Cord and Brain Injury Research Center (SCoBIRC).

With funding from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Army Research Office, Voss is studying salamander regeneration—something that may one day help people with spinal cord and limb injuries. He is involved in sequencing the salamander genome, and says he has been able to identify genes that explain variation in the rate of regeneration. "But most of the traits that we care about are very complicated in their nature. How long we live, how much we weigh, or the time at which we metamorphose, or regenerate, is probably determined by hundreds to thousands of genes."

In this complex research, Voss says UK offers him a number of advantages over other universities. Close proximity to the medical researchers with whom he collaborates through SCoBIRC, as well as his colleagues in Biology, is one advantage. Another is shared scientific equipment, like the laster capture microscope he's using to select single chromosomes. "One of the great things about UK is we've got a number of these common core facilities, and the instrumentation is there, the expertise is there to help you."

Produced by Alicia P. Gregory (Research Communications), videography/direction by Chad Rumford (Research Communications)

This video appears courtesy of Reveal: University of Kentucky Research Media research.uky.edu/reveal/index.shtml

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