New Graduate Alexis Surtel, B.S. ’23, Lands Position with National Institutes of HealthMonday, Aug 21, 2023
Spring 2023 Schmidt College of Science graduate Alexis Surtel will begin working with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) this September, as a postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) trainee. More specifically, Surtel will be housed in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) within the NIH, and will perform research in the molecular neuropharmacology section.
“In this new role, I hope to gain a broader understanding of neuroscience research, learn new lab techniques, and make advancements in the field of molecular neuropharmacology,” expressed Surtel.
Molecular neuropharmacology provides an understanding of the molecular mechanisms behind brain function and gives insight into how drugs affect the nervous system. Research in this field can lead to new drug development, neuroprotection, and the therapeutic mediation of neurological disorders.
In May, Surtel received her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences, with a Minor in Health Administration, from Florida Atlantic. She is also a successful alumna of the College’s prestigious Soar-in-4 Scholars program.
As an undergraduate student, Surtel co-authored a study that was the first to link the use of the herbicide Roundup®, a widely used weed killer, to convulsions in animals. The study’s results, published in Nature, showed that the herbicide glyphosate and Roundup® increased seizure-like behavior in soil-dwelling roundworms.
While working toward her B.S. degree, Surtel shared that she had the opportunity to engage in hands-on experiments and research projects, while collaborating with others on the same path, which allowed for a strong connection between her academic pursuits and her career goals.
“I have always had a passion for a career in medicine,” said Surtel. “Pursuing a degree in science allowed me to build a strong foundation of the fundamentals which is key to understanding the complexities of medicine.”
As a new graduate, Surtel shared some parting advice to current students who are pursuing degrees in the sciences: “It’s important to have role models, but do not compare yourself to other students. Learn something from each person you talk to. Don’t ever settle. Never give up on your ultimate goals no matter how long it takes to get there, and no matter how many challenges you face along the way.”