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CIE Researcher of Distinction, November 2015

Azeez AranmolatLyl Tomlinsone

Each month, the Center for Inclusive Education showcases the outstanding research being conducted by one of our talented scholars in our Research Café series. In addition, we recognize this scholar as a Researcher of Distinction and share the details of his/her journey to becoming an accomplished scholar. This month's Researcher of Distinction is Azeez Aranmolate, PhD candidate in the Department of Molecular & Cellular Biology. Azeez presented his talk, ‘The Role of Dystrophin in Myelination of the Central Nervous System’ on Monday, November 16, 2015.

Azeez's Path Into Research


I was born in Washington, DC and grew up in Maryland and Lagos, Nigeria. I attended High Point High School in Beltsville, MD. As a teenager, I participating in the Cycle Across Maryland (CAM) teen challenge for a couple of years. CAM was a six-day, 300-mile bike ride that attracted approximately 1,000 cycling enthusiasts, targeted at-risk youths, and offered them an athletic summer alternative. I earned my undergraduate degree in biology at Brandeis University; I found living organisms and nature to be fascinating. After visiting various underdeveloped countries, I realized I wanted to help improve quality of life in the world through science.  I eventually decided research could be my way of achieving this goal. As a Turner and AGEP-T FRAME Fellow at Stony Brook University, I am pursuing my PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology and conducting research in the lab of Dr. Holly Colognato.

Azeez's Current Research


Describe the work you presented for your Research Café.

Along with severe muscle atrophy, Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), which is caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene, also results in attention/learning disabilities, seizures and other kinds of cognitive impairments; however, the cellular dysfunction triggering these brain impairments remains unknown. Myelination is critical for the speed and coordinated timing required for all complex nervous system function, however, it also remains unknown if oligodendrocytes, the myelinating cells of the brain, contain dystrophin, and if so, whether it is required for normal oligodendroglial development. Here we will determine if oligodendrocytes have both dystrophin and an associated dystrophin-associated glycoprotein complex (DGC) that contribute to successful myelination and brain function.

What was the deciding factor for you to come to Stony Brook for your graduate studies?

Stony Brook University seemed like a great place for doctoral training due to its large range and quality of laboratories. I was impressed by the fact that MCB students were not limited to labs on campus, but were also free to join labs at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory or Brookhaven National Laboratory.  I also learned that SBU housed a set of Research Core Facilities, which provided access and assistance with both routine and cutting-edge technologies to campus students, thereby facilitating an easier research processes via access and expertise to state-of-the-art equipment that may be too costly to be maintained by individual laboratories.

What are your future goals?

Upon completing my PhD program, I hope to continue advancing my career in either academia or biotechnology industry.  

What do you enjoy most about research?

I feed my curiosity and love of discovery on a daily basis and I get to help improve quality of life in the process.