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Summer Poster


Samantha Meadows, 2014 Summer ScholarSamantha Meadows

2014 Summer Scholars and Artists Program award recipient

Major: Integrative Neuroscience (formerly Psychobiology)

School: Harpur College of Arts and Sciences

Project Title: Modulating Serotonin Function to Optimize Dopamine Replacement Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease

Project Description:

The efficacy of long-term treatment of Parkinson’s disease (PD) with L-DOPA is often compromised by the emergence of abnormal involuntary movements (L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia). Given that 90 percent of PD patients will eventually display these deleterious side effects, development of novel adjunctive treatments to L-DOPA is paramount. However, this remains a challenge, since motor behaviors operate via several neural mechanisms. Our lab recently identified the serotonin (5-HT) system, specifically 5-HT1A receptors and 5-HT transporters (SERT), as possible targets for the reduction of L-DOPA side effects. In the last 5-10 years, drug development in the field of depression has yielded several promising 5-HT compounds; some have been indicated for other diseases as they act at multiple targets. One of these is the third-generation anti-depressant drug Vilazodone, which has purported affinity for both 5-HT1A receptors and SERT. The goal of my project is to test if therapy with Vilazodone reduces abnormal involuntary movements in hemi-Parkinson rats.

Samantha’s faculty mentor is Christopher Bishop, associate professor of psychology, Harpur College of Arts and Sciences.

A quick Q&A with Samantha:

Where is your hometown?

Holbrook, N.Y.

Why do you think research is important?

Participating in research is an amazing experience because it is an engaging way to help people. As a researcher, it is my job to explore the unknown with an open and creative mind so I can learn about things like Parkinson’s disease and treatment that can better a person’s quantity and quality of life.

What are your future plans?

I plan to pursue a PhD in neuroscience, studying neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. I am not sure exactly where I want to study, but probably somewhere in the Midwest or New York City.

Do you have any hobbies?

I enjoy musical theater, dancing and baking.

Can you share a fun fact about yourself?

I went to Peru my senior year of high school and stayed in the Amazon rainforest for nine days doing service work with the local people.

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Last Updated: 5/12/14