Tuesday, January 9, 2018

URSP Student Mario Martinez Determines the Effects of Voluntary Exercise on the Neuropsychiatric Outcomes it Has on Mice

My name is Mario Martinez and I am a senior Biology major with a pre-med track. My interest in research was sparked when I began as a research assistant for PhD student Caroline Neely. I began helping with traumatic brain injuries within mice. Soon after Caroline spoke about an on-going research that focused on two passions of mine; research and health and wellness. One of my passions is fitness and balanced lifestyle of health and wellness in both men and women. At a young age I was considered overweight and obese, and from personal experience, I have dealt with the different health concerns that rise from my past challenges. From my end, it was the different forms of anxiety that arose that hindered me the most. After incorporating long term exercise into my life, however, I began to see an improvement in my mental state of well-being. I noticed changes in my social skills and anxiety while engaged in voluntary exercise for several years. I began to see improvements in the way I carried myself with my work ethic and social events. This project was much more than an opportunity to lead my own study. I was affected by anxiety when I was younger, and I wanted a better understanding as to why this occurs not to myself but to others as well. The aim of this experiment was to determine the effects of voluntary exercise on the neuropsychiatric outcomes it has on mice.

In the near future I do plan to pursue a career within the health field. I want to change the lives of my patients. Many individuals fall victim to obesity which leads to serious health concerns from diabetes to strokes. One of the main concerns that I would like to focus on is childhood obesity. Children tend to suffer from both the physical and mental effects of obesity the most. As a future medical provider, I believe it is my responsibility to not only care for these children when they are sick but to provide them with knowledge on living a balanced life and why incorporating some form of physical activity is important to prevent them from getting sick.

On a weekly basis for this research, I would handle my mice located in the Krasnow Institute. Every Monday of that week, we would have weigh-ins of the mice. Besides handling that mice, we would ensure that wheels that needed to be functional were and wheels that needed to be locked were locked. If the equipment was faulty we would have husbandry replace them. One thing I discovered this term was the importance of organization, planning, taking action and being flexible/adaptable. I never realized how much time and effort doing your own research truly takes. Not only that but during this research there were time when things did not go as planned and I needed to readjust.