Senior Blair Ashley (Kinesiology /Neuroscience major), who has been conducting research in the Kinesiology Department's Vascular Physiology Lab since her freshman year, has been named a finalist for the David Bruce Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research, a national award granted by the American Physiological Society.
As a finalist, she'll present her research to a selection committee at the national meeting Experimental Biology, held in San Diego, CA this April, competing against 20 other undergraduate researchers from around the country.
Blair will present her research on the effects of hyperhomocysteinemia, a common condition and risk factor for cardiovascular disease, on the function of blood vessels. "Although I presented at Experimental Biology last year, this year I held the leading role in the research project and thus feel more invested in the presentation," she states. She further adds, "Being able to meet and interact with established investigators at the forefront of my field is both intimidating and invigorating. As a result of this, after the meeting last year, I came back to the lab rejuvenated with new ideas and with an enhanced dedication to my project."
Blair believes that her active participation in research as an undergraduate has been a key component to her educational experience at William & Mary. "I was embraced by the Kinesiology Department faculty as a freshman, and have come to grow not only in my career at W&M, but also in my scientific field."
Blair will attend this year's meeting with the goal of broadening her knowledge in both the basic science and clinical aspects of her research area, as she now looks forward to a career in academic medicine, with emphasis in cardiology or emergency medicine.
This project was funded by a grant from the American Heart Association (to Robin Looft-Wilson) and the Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship from the American Physiological Society (to Blair Ashley).