“I was intimidated by research, and I didn’t really know what was involved,” admits URECA scholar and undergraduate researcher Pamela Best ’19.
“And yet, I wouldn’t have experienced it if I hadn’t tried it out,” she says. “Find a lab and a research area that really interests you. Don’t count yourself out.”
Best, a junior in the University Scholars program and a double major in Biochemistry and Psychology, has explored multiple experiential opportunities while a student, including hands-on research via the URECA (Undergraduate Research & Creative Activities) summer program.
Pamela’s URECA project investigates the use of acute intermittent hypoxia as a treatment for incontinence following spinal cord injury in a rat model, and is a collaborative project with the groups of Dr. William Collins (Neurobiology & Behavior), and Dr. Irene Solomon (Physiology & Biophysics).
When Pamela joined this collaborative neuroscience research project, she had little to no research experience at the bench. Within a year, though, Pamela has became proficient in performing bladder cystometry surgeries with external urethral sphincter EMG recordings, doing data analysis, and is currently preparing a presentation for the Experimental Biology meeting in San Diego, titled: “Acute hypoxia alters reflex micturition behavior in urethane-anesthetized carotid sinus intact and denervated adult female Sprague-Dawley rat.” She will be receiving a URECA travel award in support of this presentation.
Pamela had interned for the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research at Zucker Hillside Hospital (summer 2016) working with Dr. Barbara Cornblatt and Dr. Andrea Auther on a clinical research project on prodromal psychosis where she assisted in conducting surveys, taking EEG recordings, and processing saliva, blood and urine. In fall of 2016, Pamela joined a Suffolk County Mental Health Project research team led by Dr. Roman Kotov, assisting with conducting surveys/follow up interviews for a longitudinal study of 725 patients who experienced a first episode of psychosis 25 years ago.
Currently, Pamela is employed by YAI, and provides direct support services to group residents with moderate to profound disabilities (autism, schizophrenia, cerebral palsy, impulse control disorder and other psychiatric and physical disabilities). In addition, Pamela completed EMT certification in August 2016 and has enjoyed working since October 2016 as a Crew Lead for the Huntington Community First Aid squad; and as an Ambulance Attendant, Mentor Coordinator and Instructor for Stony Brook Volunteer Ambulance Corps. She has also been involved as a Summer Conference EMT, as a geriatric intern for Stony Brook Primary Care; and as a Stony Brook Medical Center volunteer.
Last May, Pamela went on clinical volunteer trip to Honduras through Global Medical Brigades. Pamela is editor in chief ofSpoke Literary Magazine; and has served as a chemistry teaching assistant for CHE130, and a tutor for the Academic Success and Tutoring Center. Pamela was also selected to be a part of the Women’s Leadership Council, which matches high potential women undergraduates with top philanthropic leaders in the SB community.