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CURCA Funds Undergraduates’ Research on Brain Receptors

Published December 21, 2011

Two students researching brain receptors in the lab of Gabriela K. Popescu, PhD, have received funding for their work from UB’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (CURCA).

Exploring Structure of Delta2 Receptors

Jessica Page, a senior in biochemistry, is investigating how delta2 receptors become activated. Evidence suggests they play important roles in coordinating motion, but no chemical that binds to them has yet been identified.

Page’s project records the activity from delta2 receptors engineered to produce ataxia in mice. She will use statistical modeling of this kinetic data and structural information to elucidate how changes in the receptor’s structure influence its electrophysiological properties.

Observing Behavioral Changes of NMDA Receptor

Ross Cole, a senior biomedical sciences major, studies NMDA receptors, synaptic receptors involved in learning and memory.

His research alters a portion of this receptor found inside brain cells to observe changes in the receptor’s behavior. Close analyses of these biochemical mechanisms may further understanding of brain diseases related to NMDA receptor dysfunction, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease and schizophrenia.

$500 Awards Support Undergraduate Research

CURCA offers $500 awards to pay for supplies, conference fees or other intrinsic needs for undergraduate research and creative activities.

The center accepts applications for awards on a rolling basis throughout the year. For consideration, the student’s project must be advertised on the CURCA website. Research mentors working with undergraduates are encouraged to submit research opportunity postings online.