Student Research Profile: Chelsea Nicole Paclibar

Meet Chelsea Nicole Paclibar, a senior biology major at PUC. She plans to continue on to dental school and specialize in orthodontics after graduation. For the last year, she has been participating in a research study on Alzheimer’s disease.

Who are you?
I’m Chelsea Nicole T. Paclibar and I’m a senior biology major. I plan to go on to dental school at Loma Linda University and specialize in orthodontics.

What did you do?
I participated in a research that studied the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and overeating. The hypothesis of the study was that overeating causes degenerative behavior in the nervous system. For this study, we grew C. elegans into healthy adults and collected their eggs after a few days. The eggs were then divided into six different conditions and a behavioral test was performed on the collected eggs. I was responsible for the data collection, which involved taking photos of the petri dishes containing the samples under a microscope, as well as measuring and calculating the length, thickness and volume of each specimen.

When and where did you do this work?
My research internship started in the fall of 2017 and will continue until spring of 2018. This work is supervised by Dr. Sung.

What did you learn?
I realized research work can be complex and overwhelming but also exciting because you get to discover new things and get to interact with people who you will work with towards accomplishing a common goal that can potentially create an impact in the world. I learned working on a research study requires a great deal of patience because data collection and analysis can take a while, thus, often leading to delayed results. I also learned working with other students can greatly enhance efficiency and allow for a better pool of creative ideas to approach the limitations we might have.

How did your experience at PUC help prepare you for this experience?
I’m a biology major and I’ve taken many required core classes and electives that provided me with the foundational skills and information needed to effectively do research. The Biological Foundation sequence prepared me very well and gave me the background knowledge to analyze data, to use a pipette and microscope, to prepare solutions, and to observe samples. Additionally, my Cell and Molecular Biology class equipped me with information on the cellular construction and development of the C. elegans allowing me to understand and evaluate its responses to the experiments and tests performed.

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