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Life-Enhancing Research: Faculty Mentors Mirror Success

April 28, 2008

Faculty mentor Igor Lednev with UAlbany student Julianne Nichols

Faculty mentor Igor Lednev and UAlbany student Julianne Nichols discuss lab research involved in fighting diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

UAlbany Junior Julianne Nichols' career aspirations to become a physician run deep, rooted in a childhood dream and solidified by family tragedy.

“Beyond the scientific aspect, my grandfather passed away from dementia, which is the onset of Alzheimer’s,” said Nichols, a human biology major from Orchard Park, N.Y.

It was all the more reason for Nichols to take particular interest in the debilitating disease. To that end, she is teaming up with faculty mentor and Assistant Professor of Chemistry Igor Lednev to conduct crucial research in the fight against dementia, Alzheimer's and other devastating diseases like Parkinson’s.

Working closely with Lednev and graduate student Ludmila Popova, Nichols is researching the possible causes of Alzheimer's in order to develop drugs to combat it. The experience left her with new insights into the medical world and offered a preview of type of research conducted in medical school.

Faculty mentoring was key to her research experience.

Professor Lednev "was always there if I had any questions or concerns."
 Julianne Nichols
“Professor Lednev was very helpful through the whole process. He was always there if I had any questions or concerns,” Nichols said, whose research was funded by the Lita and Stephen Greenwald, ’40, Research Fund.

Lednev said Nichols is “an exceptionally bright student with great potential.”  He considers it “my important duty as a professor to provide a research opportunity to our undergraduate students.”

In addition to supporting undergraduate research, several faculty mentoring programs are offered on campus through the Office of Academic Support Services.

Related Links:
Office of Academic Support Services
Department of Biological Sciences
Department of Chemistry

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