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Gulas receives APS research fellowship for undergraduate students

MariaGulas_t.jpgBOONE— Maria Gulas of Birmingham, Ala., has received an undergraduate research fellowship from The American Physiological Society (APS). Gulas is a rising junior chemistry major at Appalachian State University.

The $4,500 award will fund living expenses for the 10-week fellowship in which Gulas will work with Dr. Scott Collier, an assistant professor in the Department of Health, Leisure and Exercise Science housed in Appalachian’s College of Health Sciences. She also will receive additional travel funds to present her work at the APS’s Experimental Biology (EB) 2012 meeting in San Diego, Calif.

Gulas is one of only 24 undergraduates nationwide to receive an APS fellowship.

“I wanted to get involved in research so I looked at the websites for biology, chemistry and exercise science,” Gulas said. After learning more about professors’ projects, she approached Collier about working with him. Gulas and Collier will be part of several research projects investigating things like the effects of exercise on blood pressure, brain wave patterns and sleep, the effects of exercise and blood pressure on stuttering, and the best time to exercise as it relates to blood pressure and sleep.

This is the second student from Appalachian that has received the APS Summer Research Fellowship with Dr. Collier.

“This will be my first introduction to research,” Gulas said. “This experience will help me decide if I want to pursue a research-related graduate degree.”

She will have an opportunity to continue to work with Collier during the fall semester. “For me having students get involved in the lab is the most real-world experience I can give them, the real-life teaching tool. I’d much rather have students see the real world of research, than read about it in a book or manuscript” Collier said.

Gulas’s interest in science and sports medicine were developed while in high school. “The application and problem solving aspects of chemistry really interest me,” she said.

She will also collect blood samples for gas chromatography and liquid chromatography data, and also will help Collier and his colleagues track the changes that occur in the bloodstream after subjects drink a particular type of wine from the Republic of Georgia that has different compounds from its European and American counterparts.

A peer-reviewed abstract of Gulas’s work will be published in the journal FASEB (Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology) as she presents her work at APS’s Experimental Biology conference.

The American Physiological Society is a professional scientific membership organization devoted to fostering scientific research, education and the dissemination of scientific information. The APS supports a variety of educational activities, including programs and fellowships to encourage the development of young scientists at the undergraduate and graduate levels, with a particular focus on women and underrepresented minorities. APS also supports refresher courses and teaching awards promoting continued excellence in education at the professional level.

Founded in 1887, the society’s membership includes more than 10,000 professionals in science and medicine.