AGEP Scholar: Danielle Cervasio, Ph.D.
PhD: Department of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology
Danielle Cervasio is a New York City native, originally from Queens. She obtained her BS in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from SUNY Cortland where she characterized naturally-derived mammalian pheromones to be used as an alternative to pesticides. Coming to Stony Brook in 2017, she joined the department of Pharmacology with an intent to study processes in the brain relating to neurodegenerative disease. Sticking with her basic biology and chemistry roots, she ultimately decided to focus her dissertation research on leveraging organic chemistry to visualize and study connections within the brain. In Scott Laughin's lab, Danielle is interested in creating novel fluorescent molecules and small-molecule drugs that act as neural tracers between neurons and cells in the brain called astrocytes to better understand how these cells communicate with each other. Outside of lab, Danielle finds solace spending time in nature—hiking, climbing, skiing or racing mountain bikes with friends.
Why I chose to join AGEP : I chose the AGEP-PUI program for the opportunity to expose myself to a potential career as a professor at a Primarily Undergraduate University. I find so much joy in mentoring students in the lab while discussing the basic fundamentals of chemistry and biology as it relates to research. Having only taught a few lectures to undergraduate and graduate students at Stony Brook, and really enjoying it, I knew that AGEP would allow me to obtain the necessary mentorship and provide me with additional teaching opportunities that I may not have gotten otherwise. Although I do not imagine myself as a professor until later in life due to personal circumstances, AGEP has provided me with the resources, the confidence, and the connections to feel good in practicing this delayed gratification and fulfill this goal, albeit not right now. The mindset, skills, and practices learned through AGEP will serve me very well in industry where teaching and working on teams is widespread.