Adelle Flores, a junior biomedical sciences major in The Honors College at the University of Houston.
Adelle Flores, a junior biomedical sciences major in The Honors College at the University of Houston.
People

UH Undergrads Explore Solutions for Alzheimer’s, Cancer and Other Challenges

UH Undergrads Explore Solutions for Alzheimer’s, Cancer and Other Challenges

2 Minute Read

Solutions for Alzheimer’s, breast cancer, type 2 diabetes, migraines and lymphoma are just some of the medical challenges a group of University of Houston students have targeted this summer. Forgoing fun in the sun for some serious research, these students are part of an intensive, full- time research program—the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF).

Far from SURF-ing their way through what’s vacation time for many, these students are just a few of this year’s 74 SURF participants who delved into a number of complex projects during the course of 10 weeks under the mentorship of UH faculty members. Working on projects across a variety of disciplines, each scholar received a $3,500 scholarship.

“It’s well known that when students engage in activities such as mentored research, their likelihood of graduating is significantly increased,” said Karen Weber, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “Over the past years, we have found that students who participate in SURF, the Provost’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship program or the Senior Honors Thesis program have a greatly improved graduation rate as compared to those who did not participate.”

Adelle Flores, a junior biomedical sciences major in The Honors College, said she has always been interested in Alzheimer’s disease, but even more so when her grandmother died of complications from it. When she came across an opportunity to research in a lab that studies drugs to combat Alzheimer’s, she had to take it. Working under the mentorship of College of Pharmacy associate professor Jason Eriksen, Flores is working on determining if a molecule released by cells lining blood vessels, called prostacyclin, is protective in Alzheimer’s disease.

“In the future, my work could be used to potentially develop a drug that targets Alzheimer’s disease, or at the very least could help treat some of the symptoms caused by it,” Flores said. “My experience in the SURF program has been absolutely phenomenal, and it’s opened up a whole new world to me about all types of research.”

This year, SURF alumni have come back to speak with the current SURF students about how they continued researching and turned it into a career. In addition to her own research experiences, this has inspired Flores to become even more dedicated to her studies, Flores said, as well as motivated her to perform well in school so that she can pursue research later as an M.D./Ph.D.

This year’s SURF program wrapped up Aug. 7, and the students will present research posters on their projects at UH’s 11th annual Undergraduate Research Day Oct. 22.

Back to top