UA Ph.D. Student Has Eye on Research

– Research in general is very difficult because, as a grad
student, you’re constantly doing a million things. (bright music) – [Katelyn] I take
classes, I teach classes, and I’m doing research. Sometimes when I’m trying
to get a paper done I can spend, you know, twelve hours a day sometimes, it depends on what’s going on. So I think the biggest struggle for me has been trying to balance all those while also having like a
normal life, social life and, you know, family
life and things like that. (bright music) – [Katelyn] I do a lot of microscopy. I study cells in the
retina that can respond to light without input from rods and cones, so they control things
like circadian rhythms, so when you go to sleep, when you wake up. Melanopsin ganglion cells
have a prominent role in health and disease
and they can either be very affected by it or
very resistant to it. They’re like the ganglion
cells that don’t die. They were only discovered
about 18 years ago, and in the realm of retinal neuroscience, that’s pretty recent and
people are looking at them in like Alzheimer’s, and
things like migraines, and stuff like that. (bright music) – I applied for the grant in February, and then I learned that I
had received it in April. What I was kind of
going for in my proposal was looking for how my
cells are affected in early glaucoma to see if that might be an early sign of glaucoma. (bright music) – And so we found that
some of these cells have these weird projections
into an area of the retina that no one has ever seen before, and so I found some cool evidence
of connections between cells in a layer of the
retina that no one has ever seen before, which
is very interesting. (bright music) – And so, after I graduate, I think I want to try to get a postdoctoral position. There’s a lab in Stanford
that I’d really like to go to, also a lab in
Seattle, so we’ll see.

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