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On the Bright Side

June 10, 2014

SUCO student selected to study brain science

While other college students are sleeping in and lounging pool-side this summer, one State University College at Oneonta student will be one of the brains behind an important research project.

Marvin Rodriguez, of Long Island, is among 13 individuals selected for the first SUNY Brain Summer Scholars Program, according to a media release from the State University of New York and Research Foundation for SUNY, which is the largest and most comprehensive university-connected research foundation in the country.

“Today was actually my first day,” Rodriguez, 21, said Monday. “It was mostly orientation-type work, but it went well. I’m very excited.”

Rodriguez, who will be a senior next year at SUNY Oneonta, was picked from a group of 70 applicants based on faculty recommendation, academic transcripts and a personal statement of interest.

Last semester, Rodriguez, a computer science major, assembled a super-computer for a research project at SUNY Oneonta, he said. The professor he was working with encouraged him to apply for the research program.

Along with faculty members, Rodriguez and the other students will be conducting hands-on research that will support President Barack Obama’s Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies Initiative, which aims to increase understanding of how the brain works in order to develop new ways to treat, cure and prevent brain disorders, the release said.

“I will mostly be working in the lab as a programmer,” Rodriguez said. “My lab is interested in understanding the basic mechanisms of neurotransmitter release from synaptic vesicles and of its diffusion away from the synaptic cleft.”

Rodriguez and his fellow scholars will be on the cutting-edge of new research and innovation that could transform the field of neuroscience, said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. They will use a combination of technologies, including slice electrophysiology, two-photon imaging and 3D reaction-diffusion simulations, Rodriguez said.

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