Maxwell Madden ’18, a double major in biochemistry and psychology, and biology major Marilyn Steyert ’18 both received grants in support of their joint St. Mary’s Project in Psychology, “The Role of Fast-acting Antidepressant L-655,708 in the Hippocampus and Nucleus Accumbens,” which was mentored by Dr. Aileen Bailey. Max was awarded a $1,500 Psi Chi Undergraduate Research Grant and Marilyn received a $918 grant from the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society. Read more here.
From the abstract: Depression is both extremely common and difficult to effectively treat. Even the most effective treatment options require multiple weeks to take effect and are ineffective in half of all patients. A new “excitatory synapse model” of depression has arisen and has led to the development of new, fast-acting drugs such as L-655,708. This study aimed to examine the specific location of L-655,708 action within the neurological circuit believed to be relevant to depression in rats. Following a chronic unpredictable stress (CUS) procedure meant to induce depressive-like state, cannula surgeries were performed to allow localized infusions of L-655,708, lidocaine, or vehicle into the hippocampus and NAc. Depressive-like behavior was measured using a sucrose preference test, social interaction test, open field test, and novelty suppressed feeding test. While CUS did not appear to induce depressive-like behavior, we observed large though non-significant effects of L-655,708 and lidocaine upon measures of depressive-like behavior. Observed trends suggested that L-655,708 may have reduced depressive like behavior, and that lidocaine administered in either the hippocampus or nucleus accumbens had a pro-depressive effect which counteracted the modest antidepressant action of L-655,708. Further analysis of the glutamate receptor ratios by immunohistochemistry may reveal receptor-level differences between treatment groups may explain and validate the observed behavioral trends.
Rachel Thompson ’19, a double major in psychology and music, received a $400 Psi Chi Eastern Regional Research Award to present a poster at the Eastern Psychological Conference in Philadelphia, PA in March of 2018. Her study, “What’s That Song Again? The Influence of Pitch Memory on Singing Accuracy,” was originally started as a 2017 St. Mary’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) project conducted under the mentorship of Dr. James Mantell. The summer experience extended into directed research over the fall 2017 semester to prepare for the conference.
From the abstract: We investigated the role of memory in pitch perception and production with a singing experiment. Thirty participants imitated excerpts of 20 popular songs that varied in familiarity. We presented each excerpt in the original or a mistuned key. Preliminary results show that individuals performed familiar mistuned songs most accurately, suggesting that familiarity improves singing accuracy. However, participants’ long-term absolute pitch memories did not interfere with the working memory representations that support imitative production of song.
Rachel will continue working with Dr. Mantell for her St. Mary’s Project in AY18-19.
Congratulations, Max, Marilyn, Rachel and Drs. Bailey and Mantell!