Kelly Carstens

Kelly Carstens



Biography

I graduated from the University of Vermont with a BS in Biology. During my undergraduate, I became interested in neuroscience after working in a clinical fMRI research lab. For my thesis, I conducted a fMRI study investigating the effects of nicotine on emotional memory. I continued to pursue my interests in neurobiology working as a lab technician in a molecular lab where I had the opportunity to contribute to a large translational study researching the effects of nicotine on the adolescent brain.

Research

I joined the lab of Dr. Serena Dudek in May 2013. I am interested in studying mechanisms of learning and memory during critical periods of development and how these mechanisms may be altered in a neurodevelopmental disorder model. My project is specifically focused on the role of a specialized form of the extracellular matrix, known as perineuronal nets, in regulating plasticity in the hippocampus in early postnatal development and how it is disrupted in several neurodevelopmental disorder models, such as Rett Syndrome. I use patch clamp electrophysiology in brain slices, confocal and electron microscopy, and molecular techniques to determine how this unique matrix works to regulate neuroplasticity.

Activities/Awards

Neurosciences Predoctoral Training Grant, 2013-2014
Training Initiatives in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (TIBBS) Advisory Board Member, 2013-Present
NC DNA Day 5K Planning Committee, 2014-Present

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