Giselle Tiede is spending her summer conducting ground-breaking research on Alzheimer’s Disease. Working with Dr. Gerlinde Metz in the Metz Lab, and Tony Montina, Giselle is analyzing metabolites in specific brain regions to investigate how these structures change with the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Through this research, Giselle hopes it can provide insight into new ways of treating Alzheimer's.

Metabolites are the small molecules produced by cells during their activity. Giselle is comparing how these molecules differ between healthy brains and brains with Alzheimer's. Her study will provide insights into how Alzheimer’s Disease affects the cellular activity of the brain in eight specific regions. By finding metabolites that are uniquely altered by the progression of Alzheimer’s, Giselle’s research is searching for potential biomarkers that can be used for early detection and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Giselle’s research is a combination of two of her great loves—chemistry and neuroscience. Her interest in studying neurodegenerative disorders led her to train in the Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Lab, where she gained interest in researching the molecular neuropathological changes that occur in brains due to Alzheimer’s.

Being involved in research has opened many opportunities to present at conferences and develop writing and presenting skills. I have also learned how to process and organize large amounts of data, which is very useful for a scientist. Doing research has had a richness to the education I have received at U of L. I have been able to learn about a ground-breaking field I previously had no idea existed.

Giselle adds that she appreciates the support she has received from her supervisors and team members during her research journey. As a result of her research involvement, she has presented at academic conferences, including at the Undergraduate Research in Science Conference (URSCA), which she notes was an exciting challenge.

One of the keys to Giselle’s success was learning organizational skills. From sifting through large data sets, to reading literature, being organized is crucial to all aspects of research. When asked about advice she has for other students who want to become involved in research, Giselle says it’s important to reach out to supervisors early, as applications for summer research awards are typically due early in the Spring semester.

“As the past Neuroscience Club co-president, I have gotten emails about how to get involved in research. Faculty (especially in Neuroscience) are always interested in having students joining their lab. Send an email asking a professor about their research and arrange a Zoom meeting.”

For those who are currently engaged in their own research projects, Giselle has a pro-tip—listening to podcasts. When conducting repetitive tasks, such as processing data, Giselle says listening to podcasts can make the day a little more exciting.

Research can be challenging. However, in the long run, I have found it rewarding to see how I helped take part in something larger than me.