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MEDIA CONTACT: Lauren Woeber
561-799-8216, lwoeber@fau.edu

FAU Wilkes Honors College Alumna

Publishes Research in the ‘Journal of Neuroscience’

Elizabeth Tranquil

Elizabeth Tranquil working in the Max Planck laboratory.

Image of a living neuron.

Image of a living neuron. A cerebellar stellate cell loaded with fluorescent dye and imaged with two photon microscopy in brain tissue.

Credit: Imaged by Matt Rowan, Mechanisms of Synaptic Signaling and Computation group at Max Planck Florida Institute.

JUPITER, Fla. (May 20, 2014) – Elizabeth Tranquil, an alumna of FAU’s Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College at Florida Atlantic University, along with Max Planck Florida Institute (MPFI) neuroscientists, Matthew J.M. Rowan, Ph.D., and Jason M. Christie, Ph.D., recently has been published in The Journal of Neuroscience. This is the first time an Honors College student has been published in the prominent journal.

The paper, “Distinct Kv Channel Subtypes Contribute to Differences in Spike Signaling Properties in the Axon Initial Segment and Presynaptic Boutons of Cerebellar Interneurons,” investigates the role of specific ion channels in neurotransmission, or how cells in the brain communicate with each other. Generally, the research accomplished shows not only do Kv1 and Kv3 channels (two distinctly different ion channels) can contribute dynamically to propagating an action potential, the electrical “pulse” neurons use for communication, but also their location on a cell determines how the neurotransmission can be controlled; aspects that were previously poorly understood.

“Elizabeth is an outstanding example of how the Wilkes Honors College fosters intellectual and personal growth for every student,” said Jeffrey Buller, Ph.D., dean of Wilkes Honors College. “We place a great deal of emphasis on undergraduate research and student success, and one of the best ways of doing that is having students conduct original research on teams with professors and scientists in their chosen field.”

As a graduate of the spring semester, Tranquil worked closely with Paul Kirchman, Ph.D., on her senior thesis, “Response of Calcium Channel Model to Variations in Voltage Waveform.” Her thesis, informed by her research at Max Planck, allowed her to explore how calcium channels are influenced by voltage waveforms of varying width and amplitude.

“The Honors College and the MacArthur campus is a place where real breakthroughs are happening,” said Jason M. Christie, Ph.D., of the Max Planck Florida Institute. “Elizabeth is an outstanding student and I am fortunate she chose to pursue undergraduate research at Max Planck in conjunction with her class work at the Honors College. Our faculty members work closely with many Honors College students. Given my positive interactions with Honors Campus students, I certainly plan to continue to do so in the future.”

Tranquil is from Jupiter and graduated from Suncoast High School in 2009. She will attend the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Bradenton to pursue a D.O. degree in the fall.

For more information, visit www.honorscollege.edu

FAU’s MacArthur Campus in Jupiter offers a broad range of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. The campus is home to the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Lifelong Learning Society, and research facilities of Scripps Florida and the Max Planck Florida Institute.
About Florida Atlantic University:
Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit www.fau.edu.
Last Modified 5/28/14