Adapted research strategies bring unexpected benefits and insights for Kiera Robe ’21

Conducting research during the era of COVID-19 was challenging, but also brought unexpected benefits, says Kiera Robe ’21 of Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

During the summer, Robe was a research assistant for Julia Manor, associate professor of psychology. She worked mostly from home, but because part of her duties involved taking care of the rat lab, she commuted between Oshkosh and Ripon.

Her work focused on a dietary study involving rats that examined high fat diets and their impact on anxiety and visual memory, “both of which can worsen due to inflammatory effects of consuming a high-fat diet,” Robe says. “We used herbal supplementations to see if any of the effects could be countered, and right now we are currently in the process of analyzing data that was collected.”

Robe also coded videos of behavior to get data to analyze and running statistics to help determine the significance of their results.

“Conducting research this summer was a memorable experience,” Robe says. “We not only found ourselves being innovative but also having to deal with unforeseen circumstances due to quarantine and COVID-19. Nevertheless, this experience was not only fun and academically challenging but also eye-opening by seeing how the scientific community perseveres through unprecedented times of change.

“It has made me proud to be pursuing a career in neuroscience and to be studying here at Ripon College.”

Robe is majoring in psychobiology and chemistry.


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