Ashley Holloway, an undergraduate research assistant at the Beckman Institute and neuroscience major planning to graduate in May 2014, has been awarded the 2013 Erik Haferkamp Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research.
Holloway will be continuing research she has already started as an undergraduate research assistant, which she says has been fundamental in her growth as a student and researcher.
“I have honed a wide-range of skills [at Beckman] related to animal handling, immunohistochemistry, and microscopy, all the while learning the significance of each skill in relation to the end goal of each project. Overall, the skills and experience I have gained from lab will undoubtedly be applied to my upcoming research endeavors,” Holloway said.
Her proposed research for the summer, conducted with Martina Mustroph, Beckman Institute Graduate Fellow, and Justin Rhodes, full-time faculty member of the NeuroTech Group, will work to “determine the contribution of new neurons developed from running to the acceleration of extinction of cocaine Conditioned Place Preference (CPP) using a transgenic mouse model,” hypothesizing that “running accelerates extinction of cocaine CPP in mice via the generation of new neurons in the hippocampus,” according to her application materials.
Her research is based on a portion of a proposal of a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant being conducted in Rhodes’ lab.
“I am excited about the proposal because it could provide us with insight to a mechanism by which running accelerates cocaine CPP extinction,” Holloway said.
Holloway is very appreciative of the opportunity to research at the Beckman Institute this summer.
“This award will allow me to stay in Champaign-Urbana over the summer and work at Beckman Institute full-time as an undergraduate research assistant. I will be able to learn and master a multitude of laboratory techniques throughout the summer, as well as learn what goes into completing a research experiment. Ultimately, I believe the experience afforded to me through receiving this award will assist me in future endeavors such as going to graduate school and designing and completing experiments of my own,” Holloway said.
The fund was created to honor Erik Haferkamp, who intended to graduate in May 2010 with a double major in molecular and cellular physiology and psychology. He was a valued member of the Rhodes research group as a student researcher and lab technician. He passed away in March 2010, and his passion for research and his contributions to society and neuroscience lives on through this award.
The fund is made possible by the generous support of Erik’s family, including Bonnie Haferkamp (mother), David Haferkamp (father), and numerous extended family, friends, and colleagues. To contribute to this fund, follow this link.