What advice do you have for undergraduates who are just starting out in research?Find a subject that you are passionate about. Then, select a professor that will also serve as a great mentor. A good mentor guides you to more research opportunities, which substantially furthers your career. In addition, A your mentor can provide more information to supplement traditional lecture material.
Seldomridge, A.N.; DeVallance, E.R.; Lemaster, K.A.; Setola, V.S.; Frisbee, J.C.; Chantler, P.D. Detrimental changes in perivascular adipose gene expression in the Metabolic syndrome recovered with exercise training. Exp. Biol. 2016, (Submitted).
DeVallance, E.R.; Branyan, K.W.; Seldomridge, A.N.; Lemaster, K.A.; Skinner, R.C.; Asano, S.; Frisbee, J.C.; Chantler, P.D. Perivascular adipose tissue diminishes nitric oxide bioavailability in Metabolic syndrome. MARC-ACSM Annu. M. 2015, (Accepted).
Seldomridge, A.N.; DeVallance, E.R.; Lemaster, K.A.; Setola, V.S.; Frisbee, J.C.; Chantler, P.D. Exercise reverses endothelial dependent dilation impairments in obese Zucker rats. STEP-UP Symposium, NIH. 2015, (Accepted).
When you were 10 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I was very confident that I would be a veterinarian.
What are your current plans/career goals beyond the undergraduate?
Currently, I plan to continue research within Dr. Paul Chantler’s lab, and present at the Mid-Atlantic Chapter meeting for American College of Sports Medicine. In addition, I hope to represent West Virginia University at Posters on the Hill next spring. Posters on the Hill is held in Washington, D.C. annually. At this conference, I would present to members of Congress and congressional aids, advocating for undergraduate research. I am currently working to submit an abstract as first author for Experimental Biology, which will be held in San Diego, California in 2016. Experimental Biology is a national, inter-disciplinary conference made up of over 14,000 scientists annually. Beyond the undergraduate level, I plan to either attend medical school in the fall of 2016 or a post-baccalaureate program through the National Institutes of Health.
When did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I first started in Dr. Paul Chantler’s lab in the fall of 2014, which was the start of my junior year.
How long have you been involved in undergraduate research?
I have been doing research for three semesters now, including a competitive fellowship through the American Physiological Society STEP-UP program during the summer of 2015.
Why did you choose get involved in undergraduate research?
I have always wanted to be involved in research. My main interest is in medicine, and research provides the hard science underlying any medical advances. I chose to work with Dr. Chantler because his research is prominent and of great importance in West Virginia, as the number of cases of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome are drastically increasing. Dr. Chantler’s lab also works with both human and rat animal models, which has facilitated human translational research and interventional therapies.
How did you find/connect with your first faculty research adviser?
Dr. Chantler is a professor in Advanced Physiology of Exercise, which is a two-semester course for all of Exercise Physiology majors. He taught the acute and chronic adaptations from exercise on cardiovascular physiology. After his section was complete, I visited Dr. Chantler’s office to discuss volunteering within his lab. Numerous hours volunteering eventually led to an internship and a highly competitive fellowship.
What is your current research?
Our lab examines the effects of exercise on cardiac and arterial function in individuals with the Metabolic syndrome. The Metabolic syndrome is a classification of risk factors, including obesity and high cholesterol that significantly increase the chance of developing cardiovascular disease, and the disease being fatal. We use an obese Zucker rat, as the translational model of a human with Metabolic syndrome. We then implement an aerobic exercise-training program, and measure blood vessel reactivity to determine the extent of how exercise can improve the detrimental changes caused by obesity.
Specifically, I work to understand the regulation of reactive substances that alter blood vessel function. I measure the protein release from the fat tissue surrounding the aorta, called perivascular adipose tissue. We think that this fat tissue causes harmful effects on vessels in obese people. We also want to examine how the protein release changes after exercise.
What skills have you learned by doing research that you would not have learned otherwise (i.e., from lecture alone)?
Research has taught me at least three things. First, research allowed me to have hands-on experience with research design. The second thing research taught me was how dynamic is the field of science. All of what we read in textbooks and learn in lecture stems from research itself. Lastly, research showed me how to communicate ideas in a technical manner. Specifically, I learned how to intellectually bounce ideas off of fellow students, and present my findings in front of a larger audience.
Have you participated in any other type of undergraduate research program external to WVU?
Yes, the APS STEP-UP Fellowship. The American Physiological Society STEP-UP is a highly selective program that facilitates undergraduate research for under-represented people. I was a first-year fellow who worked full-time within Dr. Chantler’s lab for 10 weeks. At the conclusion of the fellowship, I presented my research at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland at the research symposium sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.