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2010-2011 Honors Student
Name: Jaime L. Renninger
Honors in: Neuroscience
Hometown: Nazareth, PA
Title of project: Investigating the impact of lansoprazole on cognitive deficits in a rat model of Alzheimer’s disease
Abstract of brief description: The goal of this study was to explore the behavioral effects of the proton pump inhibitor, lansoprazole (LNS), on Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Fourteen male Wistar rats were treated with either LNS or vehicle for seven days following intraventricular administration of beta-amyloid, after which spatial and object memory was tested. The trend of the data was that the animals treated with LNS demonstrated better cognitive ability than control animals on three behavior tasks, though not all of the data was significant. Based on our findings, it appears that there may be a therapeutic role for proton pump inhibitors in the management of AD.
How did you get interested in your topic? While researching the biochemistry of lansoprazole for a different assignment, I came across an article discussing the potential anti-inflammatory properties of the drug and its possible role in neurodegenerative disorders. I became interested and decided to integrate the behavior paradigms I had learned in other courses to further investigate the effects on cognition as well.
Do you intend to research your topic further? If so, how? I hope that my future education allows me to continue studying therapeutic targets of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Beginning this summer, I will be pursuing my Ph.D. in neuroscience at Thomas Jefferson University, where I will have the opportunity to work with a number of researchers focusing on these diseases.
How did you benefit academically by conducting research/participating in honors? By completing my honors research, I was able to learn essential skills for my future education and research experiences. My experiences both in the laboratory and in the library introduced me to neuroscience techniques as well as general research, writing, and communication skills. I feel that this experience prepared me for graduate school as well as confirming my passion for neuroscience research.
How has the department (or faculty advisor) prepared you for the future? The neuroscience department has taught me many technical skills that I will use in graduate school as well the importance of being independent in my research.
What advice do you have for other students interested in honors? It is very important to choose a topic that truly interests you. It is easy to get overwhelmed by all of the work required for an honors project. When you are invested in your work, it makes it easier to realize the important skills you are learning during the process and the value of completing the project.