By Michele Tallarita ’12
What do you do when you love learning about how the mind works in psychology, but can’t resist the call of the microscope?
Rose Bayer ’14 (Glastonbury, Conn.) answered that question by majoring in neuroscience, a field that she says offers the best of both worlds. Recently, her major has opened her up to yet another world: one known for its street-side hot dogs and screeching taxis.
Bayer headed to New York City this summer to intern with the Mount Sinai Medical Center, where she conducted laboratory experiments aimed at learning more about the causes of Parkinson’s Disease.
“I love the fact that not a minute went by in a day that I wasn’t learning,” she says. “I also liked the idea of discovery, and being around the constant possibility of discovering something new and progressive.”
The lab is working to gain a better understanding of the genes whose mutations are related to the onset of Parkinson’s. Bayer’s job was to investigate one specific gene, called LRRK2, and to begin to identify the exact site of its mutation. “In order to do that, I used a protein identification method called the Western Blot to run samples of mouse DNA,” she says.
Mastering methods like the Western Blot will come in handy for Bayer, who wants to do more research in the future and plans on going to medical school. Not only is she thinking about becoming a neurologist, she hopes to explore ways of using art, meditation, and other “right-brained” methods in medicine.
Her internship, she says, gave her much more than a first glimpse at her future. “This summer has pushed my intellect in ways I didn’t anticipate having the chance to do until later in my education, which will definitely pay off each step of the way,” she says.
Bayer is kicking off her sophomore year with lots of campus and extracurricular activities. She participates in the Hillel Society, plays club lacrosse, and is passionate about painting.
Another of her passions is education. As a volunteer with the Landis Community Outreach Center, she tutors troubled fifth and sixth grade students at Easton Area Middle School. “It’s important to me to pass on my own excitement to kids and hope that they find their own passions and learn ways to follow them step by step,” she says.