UAlbany professor and students research the brain and publish their findings
Cheryl Frye and Kassandra Edinger
Undergraduates Kassandra (Kassie) Edinger and Bomi Lee didn’t know much about research when they began working in the lab of Associate Professor of Psychology Cheryl Frye. By the time they completed their research project, however, they had gained new insights into the workings of the brain, and were successful in publishing their results in a respected scientific journal.
Their project, part of a directed study course in psychology, examined whether performance in learning tasks is influenced by testosterone and/or its metabolites. The research done by Frye and the students showed the hormone did indeed increase learning capabilities, and the article reporting their findings was published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior in July. “For the article, I worked on graphs and statistical figures. The writing was mostly done by Dr. Frye and Kassie,” says Bomi.
While both students learned a lot about the functioning of the brain through the project, they also gained hands-on experience in scientific methods. Kassie learned the basic techniques used in behavioral testing and how to write a detailed proposal and schedule for the order of experiments. “Although things needed to be very flexible, having everything written out on a timeline really helped me keep on top of things, especially since I had to be more involved with every aspect of the research. Throughout the entire experience, I met with Dr. Frye daily to discuss the progress of our research, and to troubleshoot,” she says.
Bomi credits the lab experience with teaching her “how scientific experiments are conducted and published, and about the importance of consistent effort for research.”
“I enrolled at UAlbany,” said Kassie, “because I was interested in psychology research, and I knew that there was a strong program here.” Along the way, the 22-year-old senior picked up two other majors – English and biology. After completing the research project, she stayed on to complete her honors thesis and currently works as a research assistant to Frye. “The professors here are enthusiastic, and they’re willing to work with undergraduates to help enhance their research experience and professional development.”
Bomi, now back in her native Korea for a visit, will return to UAlbany next year to complete the final three semesters of study for her degrees in biology and psychology. She would like to attend graduate school for biological psychology or neuroscience.
“It was a great experience,” comments Bomi, who says that her UAlbany research project also honed her time management skills. “I definitely would like to continue to study more; there are still so many things to learn about the brain.”
Department of Psychology
Associate Professor of Psychology Cheryl Frye
Research at UAlbany