Research as an Undergraduate at Purdue

One of my best decisions so far at Purdue has been joining the school of Health Sciences Honors Program. Lead by our own Dr. Jennifer Freeman, this program gives undergraduate students the opportunity to participate in research for faculty within our school. It is a great way to not only apply classroom material to the real world, but also see if a career in research is in your interest. You can earn 1 or 2 credits per semester and you have the opportunity to create a research poster, as a sophomore or even a freshman.

I am lucky enough to work in the lab of Dr. Ulrike Dydak, whose focus is in Radiological Health and Medical Physics. In her lab, there are many projects going on with MRI and Spectroscopy looking at Manganese neurotoxicity in Welders and Parkinson’s disease. Since the spring of my freshman year, I have been looking at how grey matter volume in the brain changes for patients with Parkinson’s. I have compared grey matter densities between patients and controls, among different ages, and among severe and not severe cases of Parkinson’s.

Research has taught me a lot about time management, being responsible for my work, and thinking outside of the box. Sometimes the results are not what we expected. This can be hard, but often I have to sit down and think about what is going on to produce the results we have received. Participating in a poster session and lab meetings makes me feel more like a scientist than any class that I could sit in. Research has increased my understanding of my major, and my future goals as a health professional. I would encourage anyone to find research on or off campus!

— Courtney Oare, Junior, Radiological Health Sciences

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