Students get head start on research careers

By Mabell, Dave on August 24, 2015.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald

Some students are barely out of high school. But at the University of Lethbridge, they’re studying issues like maternal health and gambling addiction.

And some, young as they are, may have started research in a field they’ll explore for many years to come.

Parents and friends were invited to hear their stories last week, as some of the 20 young researchers prepared to wrap up their summer’s work. Each was asked to offer a 10-minute summary of their research topic and the results they’d obtained.

“They are doing some amazing work,” says Artur Luczak, a neuroscience professor in the university’s Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience. “These opportunities can be life-changing for students and influence their educational decisions.”

Each summer, budding scientists from Lethbridge-area schools are given the opportunity to work alongside graduate students, post-doctoral students and undergrads who share a passion for research.

“The U of L is doing well in providing undergraduate research opportunities, and our neuroscience department is leading the way,” Luczak says.

Neuroscience faculty members act as mentors for the summer students, he adds, although their research topic may lie in another field.

Student research this summer ranged from issues of alcohol and maternal health, to face detection using artificial retinas.

While students may have passed on summer employment to pursue their project, Luczak says others may gain credit toward their degree. What many gain, he points out, is hands-on experience of work in a research lab.

“For some, it’s really changed their outlook and helped them decide what they want to be.”

For one student recently, he adds, a summer studying aspects of epilepsy led to a decision to head to a larger university for medical school. But while there are so many other studies for medical students to complete, Luczak says there could still be an opportunity to continue a focus on epilepsy.

For other students, he says, working alongside colleagues in a research facility becomes a career path.

Some students really enjoy the work, Luczak says, and they’ll continue it as the new semester begins. Many are fascinated by the many fields of brain-related research open to them.

Students get head start on research careers

Via: Google Alert for Neuroscience

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