To help her fellow undergraduate students study neurons, Honors psychology major Katie Dabrowski developed a hands-on laboratory exercise. Her interdisciplinary work not only provides a better understanding of current flow in neurons, but the research was also published in the Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education’s fall 2013 issue.
About the Project
Title: “Basic Neuron Model Electrical Equivalent Circuit: An Undergraduate Laboratory Exercise”
Authors: Dabrowski created the project with faculty advisers Jaime Tartar, Ph.D., associate professor and coordinator of psychology research at the college, and Diego Castano, Ph.D., associate professor
The interactive exercise allows students to build and manipulate a neuron equivalent circuit, using electrical circuit components that resemble neuron components and are easy to construct. The result is a lab experiment that provides an applicable way of understanding how current flows in a neuron, what modulates this flow, and what components are essential for this process. According to Dabrowski’s article, by the end of the exercise, undergraduate students will have learned about concepts such as Ohm’s law, cable theory, and the functions of resistance and capacitance in neurons.
Dabrowski’s published article follows a span of neuropsychological research. Over the past year, Dabrowski, who is a former member of NSU’s Rowing team, compared the effects of physical versus mental exercise on improving cognitive function. For that project, Dabrowski worked with faculty advisers Leanne Boucher, Ph.D., and Tobin Silver, Ph.D., assistant professors at the college.
This past summer, Dabrowski earned a Miami Project Summer Student Fellowship, funded by the National Institutes of Health. One of only 12 students to earn the fellowship nationwide, Dabrowski spent three months at the University of Miami, conducting research alongside Coleen Atkins, Ph.D., who develops novel therapies for traumatic brain injuries and spinal cord injuries.
Take a Closer Look
—View Dabrowski’s article in the Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education | Fall 2013
—Read more about Dabrowski’s research in the upcoming issue of Farquhar Forum | Jan. 2014