Ms. Emily Hurley
Supervisor: Dr. Brian Staveley
Ms. Hurley is the recipient of the 2019 ARC-NL Graduate Fellowship for her project entitled,
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Parkinson’s Disease and Ageing Models in Drosophila Melanogaster.
ARC-NL: What piqued your interest in this area of research?
During my MSc and now into my doctoral studies, my research explores the cellular mechanisms that underlie the cognitive decline in the aging brain and diseased states. This area of research is essential as there are many unanswered questions regarding the physiological processes that go wrong, thus leaving a large proportion of our population impacted.
ARC-NL: Can you please provide a brief synopsis of your specific project?
My current PhD project focuses Huntington disease (HD), a genetically inherited neurodegenerative disorder characterized by a triad of motor, cognitive and psychiatric symptoms. My recent research aims to characterize HD cellular mechanisms, specifically how the GluN3A protein impacts synaptic plasticity and cognitive function.
ARC-NL: How did getting the support of the ARC-NL Graduate Fellowship assist you with your project?
Receiving support such as the ARC-NL Graduate Fellowship can allow me to focus more on my research and less on the financial aspect of higher education. Financial support also allows me to shape my scientific career and to put my professional interest into practice.
ARC-NL: How do you feel your research will benefit the aging population of Newfoundland and Labrador? Canada?
As the aging population of Newfoundland and Labrador and Canada grows, as does the risk of dementia - the loss of memory and cognitive function. My research will be vital to better understand the role of the GluN3A protein in memory and cognitive impairments associated with the aging brain and brain disorders.
ARC-NL: Is there any past experience that you feel is pertinent to your success today?
My MSc program was a time of growth for me as a young scientist, discovering my passion for neuroscience and research. I am grateful to have had several supportive supervisors in graduate school who have recognized my interest in the field of biomedical research. I am thankful for all the opportunities and experiences to help me become the researcher I strive for.