Miami University senior Tom Hurst has worked in a Pearson Hall laboratory for three years studying rats and mice’s reactions to stress.
Now Hurst has a chance to show off his (college) life’s work at the Society of Neuroscience annual meeting Nov. 15 in San Diego, Calif. with his partner, Meera Seshadri, a graduate student.
“(I’ve been) working in this lab for three years and I finally get to present it internationally,” he said.
The Society of Neuroscience is a nonprofit membership organization of basic scientists and physicians who study the brain and nervous systems, according to the society’s website.
Hurst studies the lactation and hormone release during stress. In the experiments, Hurst and his two colleagues — a Miami alumnus who graduated in fall 2009, Katie McEwen, and Seshadri — caused rats stress by placing them in a container where they cannot move for five minutes. They would then check stress through hormone samples and compare them before and after the rats experienced stress.
The process has made Hurst realize he found his niche. Hurst applied to 10 medical schools and has been accepted to several. He hopes to become a research physician.
“It really showed me how much I enjoyed research,” Hurst said. “It didn’t occur to me how much I want a career in research.”
Phyllis Callahan, senior associate dean in the College of Arts and Science and professor in the zoology department, is one of the professors accompanying students to the meeting.
“It’s a really wonderful opportunity for undergraduates particularly,” Callahan said. “It’s an absolutely fantastic opportunity to see the impact of their work in the field.”
Callahan said the students would have the chance to interact with colleagues in the field from other institutions who are presenting the most recent research.
“(There are) results that haven’t been published yet,” Callahan said. “(The students will be) right at the brink of current research. It’s extremely exciting.”
Hurst was meeting with his adviser for Honors and Scholars Advisory Board, who suggested he apply for funding through the Honors Program. The Honors Program and the Department of Zoology is helping to fund Hurst’s trip.