An investigation of congenital agenesis of the corpus callosum

© Alexis Delgado

Undergraduate Researcher, Alexis Delgado, who is a junior at Avila University, presented her project, An investigation of congenital agenesis of the corpus callosum, at the 2019 CUR Research Experiences for Undergraduates Symposium (REUS), which took place October 27-28 in Alexandria, VA. Alexis shared with CUR details about her project as well as her experience at this years REUS.

My name is Alexis Delgado. I attend a small university, Avila University, in Kansas City, Missouri. I study biochemistry, molecular biology, and pre-medicine with a mathematics minor.

I was fortunate enough to be a part of an REU, research experience for undergraduates, at the University of Miami this past summer. The REU was entitled: Scientific Computing for Structure in Big or Complex Datasets. In this experience, I was able to learn how to code in Python and Linux and complete an independent project in the Brain Connectivity and Cognition Laboratory. My project is entitled: An investigation of congenital agenesis of the corpus callosum. In this study, I used fractional anisotropy (FA) and diffusion-weighted imaging to investigate the integrity of inter- and intra- hemispheric white matter tracks of a subject who was born without the corpus callosum. It was determined that the congenital agenesis subject did not show significantly different FA values than typically developing peers in any of the hypothesized compensatory pathways hypothesized.

This project allowed me to learn new techniques of investigation that I would not have access to at my home university. The REU covered travel expenses and had a good stipend. This funding was crucial to my capacity to participate in this experience because I rely on my summer income to live off of during the semester. It was transformative to be living and learning with my REU peers because we all came from different backgrounds, schools, and regions of the country. We all had an opportunity to learn from each other regarding our scientific interests and our customs. This summer also allowed me to network with scientists outside of the region that I live. From networking through the REU I was able to create more possibilities for where I go after undergrad. To say the least, I know this experience will continue to shape my research and perspective in the years to come.

Text courtesy of Alexis Delgado. 


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