For Andrew Kumpfbeck ’18, the brain is a muscle

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When Andrew Kumpfbeck signed up for his freshman seminar (LDS 102) on Drug Discovery in spring 2015 with Dr. Joav Prives, he did not foresee the impact this choice would have on his undergraduate career. But after listening to his Pharmacology professor talk about his research on the regulation of surface receptors in muscle cells, Andrew became motivated to inquire about joining his professor’s lab – which he did the summer after his freshman year, and where he has thrived in the research environment.

Andrew Kumpfbeck '18

Andrew Kumpfbeck ’18

Just recently, Andrew was selected to receive a URECA summer fellowship to support his research in the Prives laboratory – which will be a collaborative project with the group of Dr. Holly Colognato (also of Pharmacological Sciences), and involves the “Regulation of Muscle Stem Cell Differentiation via Notch and Dystroglycan Interaction.” He hopes that the work will provide insight as to whether dystroglycan modification will be a potential tool to augment muscle regeneration and to counteract the effects of muscle disease such as muscular dystrophies. Andrew also joined a second research group in the fall of 2016, working with Dr. Molly Frame (Biomedical Engineering) on a cardiovascular research project involving “Blood Flow in a Partially Ligated Model of Inferior Vena Cava Deep Vein Thrombosis,” a project he presented recently at the URECA annual research symposium.

Andrew is a BME major and is currently in the process of applying to medical school. He is an active participant in the University Scholars program, will serve as the University Scholars Peer Assistant Leader (PAL) Coordinator, and has been a panelist for a Scholars event showcasing beyond the classroom experiences. He has also worked as an Orientation Leader, an Orientation Team Leader, and has served as a Teaching Assistant for Organic Chemistry, BIO 202 (Fundamentals of Biology) and BIO 207 (Introductory Biology Lab). Andrew shadows Dr. Thomas Floyd, an anesthesiologist at SB University Hospital; and volunteers at SB Hospital’s Pre-Surgical Admissions; he is also a CEAS Peer Mentor, and a Student Ambassador. Andrew has been recognized a handful of times with the Stony Brook Academic Achievement Award for his 4.0 academic record. A resident of Smithtown, New York, Andrew’s hobbies include piano, biking and camping. Below are excerpts from his interview with Karen Kernan, URECA Director.


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