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NECO Welcomes 8 Student Researchers to T35 Summer Research Program

Dr. Jane Gwiazda, Director of the Summer Research Program, welcomed 8 student researchers to the T35 Summer Research program last week. The students include Kayla Andrade, Nicole Broden, Adriana Ferriera, Burke Lieppman, Dora Pepo, Cameron Sefton, and Graham Stetson from New England College of Optometry. They are joined by Annessa Du from University of California, Berkeley School of Optometry.

Funded by a research training grant (T35) from the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health, the summer research program is designed to provide optometric students the opportunity to conduct laboratory research with highly qualified vision researchers in the Boston area. These researchers serve as mentors to the students as they gain strong skills in vision research.  The program also provides students the opportunity to conduct a critical literature review and explore experimental design, data collection and analysis.  Learn more about the Summer Research Program at New England College of Optometry.

By participating in the T35 research program, these accomplished OD students experience hands-on research early in their academic careers, which leads many of them to obtain both an OD and MS degree in their four years at NECO.  This early research exposure complements their clinical and didactic training, and helps to ensure that they will provide evidence-based eye care in the future.

Dr. Jane Gwiazda, Summer Research Program Director

Throughout the summer, students conduct research in their mentor’s lab and attend a series of summer research lectures by guest speaker at the College, spending a minimum of 320 hours in this process.  The lectures focus on evaluating scientific literature, research design and methods, and the ethical conduct of science. This year’s lectures include:

  • Dr. JongSoo Lee: Experimental Design and Statistical Analysis
  • Dr. Arthur Lage: Animal Care
  • Dr. Paul White: IRB
  • Dr. John Basl: Ethical Conduct of Science
  • Dr. James Akula: Retinopathy of Prematurity
  • Dr. Tim Shepard: Labeling the Lines: Chromatic Detection and an Asymmetric Color Matching Task
  • Dr. James Sheedy: Blue Light
  • Dr. Kevin Houston: TBI
  • Dr. Shan Ma: Improving Cone Cell Metabolism after Prolonged Vision in Mice with Retinitis Pigmentosa
  • Dr. Susana Marcos: Aberrations in the Eye

The program culminates with student presentations in July.  Following this initial summer program, many participants continue their research, often presenting their findings at optometric conferences. Learn more about research student award winners who presented their research at the recent ARVO (Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology) conference. 

2016 T35 Summer Research Program Participants

Student: Kayla Andrade, NECO Class of 2019
Mentor: Dr. Nicole Ross, NECO

Student: Nicole Broden, NECO Class of 2019
Mentor: Dr. Haiyan Gong, Boston University

Student: Annessa Du, Berkeley College of Optometry
Mentor: Anne Fulton, Children’s Hospital, Boston

Student: Adriana Ferriera, NECO Class of 2018
Mentors: Dr. Peter Bex, Northeastern University & Dr. Fuensanta Vera-Diaz, NECO

Student: Burke Lieppman, NECO Class of 2019
Mentor: Dr. Frances Rucker, NECO

Student: Dora Pepo, NECO Class of 2019
Mentor: Dr. Alex Bowers, Schepens Eye Research Institute, Massachusetts Eye & Ear

Student: Cameron Sefton, NECO Class of 2019
Mentor: Dr. Thanasis Panorgias, NECO

Student: Graham Stetson, NECO Class of 2019
Mentor: Dr. Amy Nau