This summer, Jenna Forehand ’10 is participating in cutting-edge research at Caritas St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center in Boston. She is working in the Department of Cardiovascular Research with Dr. Roberto Pola, a professor from Tufts University School of Medicine as well as three other doctors from Italy.
Forehand is studying the physiological effects of a morphogen, a substance controlling the pattern of tissue development, called Sonic Hedgehog (SHH).
“SHH may help to reconstruct blood vessels surrounding injuries by inducing a specific cellular response involved in tissue regeneration,” Forehand explains. “Our laboratory is trying to quantify this theory by using several experimental methods. I isolate, culture, and transplant bone marrow cells from mice to study the physiological effects of SHH.”
“The study of SHH and the benefits of angiogenesis (the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels) are still relatively new areas of medical research, so I am very excited to be working alongside its pioneers,” says Forehand.
As a biochemistry and public policy double major, Forehand’s work in the laboratory will augment her knowledge of these subjects. “I am gaining experience in molecular biology and histological techniques. I am also learning about the policy perspective of research; how to apply for and maintain research grants and the relationship between the research department and the clinic.”
Forehand is a member of the Health Professions Club, the Learn-to-Lead Program, HWS Votes, Phoenix Players, Outdoor Recreation Adventure Program, and the American Sign Language Club. She was a member of the Laurel Society, and chemistry tutor in the Center for Teaching and Learning. She also organized the Kaplan MCAT Preparatory Course on campus. Forehand will study abroad in Norwich, England in 2010.