Senior Biochemistry Major Seeks to Determine How Age-Related Events Contribute to the Onset of Alzheimer's

Thesis Thursday

How do age-related events contribute to the onset of Alzheimer's disease?

Senior biochemistry major Paige Bidinotto hopes that her thesis research will help provide some insight.

Bidinotto is completing her undergraduate thesis under the direction of Dr. Gemma Casadesus-Smith, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, who studies Alzheimer’s through the lens of the aging process.

"I researched all of the biological sciences faulty researches and saw Dr. Casadesus was studying Alzheimer's disease. I read that the number of people with this incurable disease is growing each year. This intrigued me to understand the mechanisms of how it attacks our body and why a cure has not yet been found," Bidinotto said.

According to Bidinotto, her senior honors thesis focuses on localizing luteinizing hormones in the mouse brain. This hormone, which is most notable as a female hormone involved in ovulation during menstrual cycle, potentially may be contributing to Alzheimer's disease.

"My research is tracking in which regions and cell types of the brain luteinizing hormone is present," she added.

When she first began working with her principal investigator, she tried several different laboratory techniques for conducting her research.

"I did very well with immunofluorescence," she said. "We decided I should continue with that technique for my thesis because I was producing exciting results with our preliminary test samples."

She believes her thesis has given her learning opportunities that could not be accomplished in a classroom. The hands-on learning experience has provided her with further understanding of how scientific and medical research is conducted. She also presented a poster session at Neuroscience 2016 this past November.

She has found the greatest reward of her thesis experience to be in knowing that her work is contributing to the scientific community. She indicates the data she has collected will help Dr. Casadesus and her graduate students with their future experiments.

"I feel like I am truly contributing to science, not just completing a side project for my own satisfaction," she said.

POSTED: Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 1:53pm
UPDATED: Thursday, February 9, 2017 - 1:53pm