Undergraduate Institution and Major:
St. Olaf College, B.A. in Biology, 2013
Marija Cvetanovic, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience
My graduate work focuses on the connectivity changes that occur during the development of spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 (SCA1) - both within the cerebellum and from the cerebellum to higher order brain regions. To do this work, I will be using a knock-in mouse model of SCA1 that expresses the hallmark polyglutamine CAG expansion in the SCA1 gene. With this work, we hope to determine the effect that alterations in cerebellar connectivity has on the development of SCA1.
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
Neurodegenerative Diseases and Neural Injury
Undergraduate or Post-Bac Research:
After graduating from college, I worked in two different labs in San Francisco. First, I worked as a lab tech in Dr. Raymond Swanson and Dr. Scott Panter’s lab at the VA hospital. Theiy were studying the effects of a PARP inhibitor on the development of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) using a pig model. I helped coordinate the project and ran behavioral experiments on the pigs in order to detect changes after injury and drug treatment. From there, I moved to Dr. Allan Basbaum’s lab at UCSF studying chronic pain and itch. I worked as the lab’s animal behavior technician and was involved in a variety of projects using multiple mouse models of chronic pain and itch.
- Irvine K, Bishop R, Won SJ, Xu J, Hamel K, Coppes V, Singh P, Sondag A, Rome E, Basu J, Santos G, Panter SS, Swanson R. Effects of veliparib on microglial activation and functional outcomes following traumatic brain injury in the rat and pig. J Neurotrauma. 2018;35(7):doi: 10.1089/neu.2017.5044.
- Fine JM, Forsberg AC, Stroebel BM, Faltesek KA, Verden DR, Hamel KA, Raney EB, Crow JM, Haase LR, Knutzen KE, Kaczmarczek KD, Frey WH, Hanson LR. Intranasal deferoxamine affects memory loss, oxidation, and the insulin pathway in the streptozotocin rat model of Alzheimer's disease. J Neurol Sci. 2017;380:164-171.
- Etlin A, Bráz JM, Kuhn JA, Wang X, Hamel KA, Llewellyn-Smith IJ, Basbaum AI. Functional synaptic integration of forebrain GABAergic precursors into the adult spinal cord. J Neurosci. 2016;36:11634-11645.
What Got You Interested in Research?
I always enjoyed science classes growing up. When I got to college my interest in science focused in on neuroscience. I had amazing professors that encouraged me to keep learning more and gave me opportunities to get some hands-on research experience. From then on, I was hooked. I loved the process of running experiments, figuring out what went wrong and re-running them, being able to extract information from data, and figure out what it means. I knew I wanted to keep working in research and start pursuing my own scientific questions.
Why Did You Choose MN?
I was initially interested in Minnesota because of the research being done in the program, but what really convinced me was seeing how collaborative and supportive the faculty are with the students.
Student Mentor and the Best Advice They Gave:
Maria Linn-Evens: Classes are difficult but manageable so don’t panic too much; keep up with the work and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Favorite Itasca Memory:
Trying and (mostly failing) to do yoga on a paddle board in the middle of Lake Itasca.