Friday, September 13, 2013

UVI Alumna & Scientist Shares Parkinson’s Research

Dr. Shana Augustin '06
University of the Virgin Islands Alumna Dr. Shana Augustin‘06, a neurophysiologist, returned to University as part of the Emerging Caribbean Scientist research seminar series. She shared the process, insights and results of the Parkinson’s disease research she is conducting at the University of Chicago. Dr. Augustin spoke on the St. Thomas Campus on Wednesday, Sept. 11, and on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix on Friday, Sept. 13, at 1:00 p.m. in EVC 716. The title of Dr. Augustin’s seminar is “Cyclic AMP and Afferent Activity Govern Bidirectional Synaptic Plasticity in Striatopallidal Neurons.”

Through her research, Dr. Augustin hopes to find stimuli that will lead to new Parkinson’s disease treatments. Dr Augustin shared details of her research methods with UVI students and faculty. She also offered graduate school advice. Dr. Augustin urged students to think of which field of science they are interested in. “There are so many different things you can do research in,” she said. “So you really have to take time and research what you are most passionate about.”

She advised students to:
  • get the Peterson’s Graduate Programs Guide
  • take advantage of research opportunities available at UVI
  • participate in travel abroad summer research programs 
  • choose a graduate school in a place they would like to live
  • Pay attention to deadlines as “Graduate Record Examinations” or the GRE are given six times a year and the results take six weeks
  • participate in post baccalaureate programs that will allow them to determine if graduate school is right for them.
Dr. Augustin cautioned students not to take graduate school lightly. “If you’re not sure about graduate school, don’t go to graduate school,” said Dr. Augustin. “It is something you have to commit to. It is something you have got to be sure about.” 

She chose UVI after graduating from the Seventh Day Adventist School on St. Croix. Dr. Augustin attended the University on St. Croix in her freshman year. She conducted research on cow coloration with UVI Professor Dr. Robert Godfrey. After transferring to St. Thomas, she conducted research with UVI Professor Dr. Richard Hall on lobster neurophysiology. While at UVI, she spent a summer conducting research at Duke University studying the neurophysiology of bird songs. She graduated from UVI in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. Dr. Augustin worked at Emory University for a year before moving onto graduate school. She graduated from the University of Chicago in 2013.