This summer, Mark Abroms '08 received hands-on experience working in the Neurology Department at the University of Rochester's School of Medicine under the direction of Hobart alumnus and fellow Delta Chi fraternity member Dr. Mark Mapstone '89.
A psychology major who plans to attend medical school, Abroms worked with human subjects and non-human primates in conducting research on Alzheimer's disease. He also analyzed data for the effects of aging and disease on visual orientation, and he accompanied Mapstone to the University of Rochester Memory Disorders Clinic, where he observed tests that assessed the signs of Alzheimer's disease and early cognitive impairment.
In addition to gaining experience in research that most do not have until graduate school, the goal of the internship was to “be able to see the connection between behavior and the structure of the brain,” said Abroms. “It combines my medical ambition and psychology degree. It's taking what I'm doing at Hobart and William Smith and applying it to the work field.”
Abroms was put in contact with Mapstone through the HWS Health Professions Club and met him at a lecture that Mapstone gave on campus. After discussing Abroms' research interests, Mapstone offered him an internship in his laboratory, and it turned out to be a perfect partnership.
“He's a really supportive mentor,” said Abroms. “He's really helped me understand the material I'm working on.”
Mapstone had similar praise for Abroms' eagerness to get everything he could out of the experience: “He's got a lot of energy and wants to learn,” he said. “And he has enthusiasm to jump right into it.”
Mapstone emphasized that the internship's success also speaks to the Colleges' program of networking alumni and alumnae with students, noting that in addition to the experience that Abroms received, Mapstone's laboratory also profited from the research that he conducted.
“Both alums and students benefit from internships,” he said. “It's something that should be emphasized.”