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IUPUI student to present neural regeneration research to international symposium in China

Jennifer Romine
Jennifer Romine


September 20, 2012

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A senior biology student will represent the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis School of Science this month at the International Neural Regeneration Symposium in China.

“This is an amazing opportunity I’ve been given,” said Jennifer Romine of Indianapolis. “To have the ability to do this type of research at IUPUI is incredible, and I’m excited to talk on a topic people don’t know a lot about.”

Her presentation is titled “Revitalizing Neural Stem Cells in the Aging Brain.” Romine and Dr. Jinhui Chen, her mentor and an assistant professor at the IU School of Medicine, have been studying the maturation process of neurons and the ability to stimulate neuron growth by increasing the number of neural stem cells in the brain. Their research has revealed that certain drugs can stimulate neuron activity, which can be useful in treating patients with traumatic brain injuries or those who lose cognitive function through the aging process.

To prepare to present her findings to an international audience, Romine has been studying intensely while also balancing her other coursework and the application process to the IU School of Medicine. She plans to pursue a career in neuroscience and has a special interest in the study and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

The second annual International Neural Regeneration Symposium, Sept. 21 to 25, provides a platform for scientists and clinicians to promote research in the growing field of neural regeneration. Chen and several other IU researchers have been invited to give presentations at the symposium.

The trip will be Romine’s second IUPUI-sponsored trip to China. Two years ago, she joined a group traveling with the School of Social Work at IUPUI; she has a minor in medical humanities and health studies, which includes social work courses.

“IUPUI has allowed me take advantage of all the opportunities to meet my RISE goals,” Romine said, referring to IUPUI’s mission to provide Research, International Study, Service Learning and Experiential Learning for all undergraduates.

The Roncalli High School graduate said it has taken years of hard work to develop the confidence and knowledge it takes to present her research at this level. Starting with the School of Science’s Biology Freshman Work Program, Romine earned her way into the Life Health Sciences Internship program, research at the Stark Neuroscience Institute and presentations before the local chapter of the Indiana Society of Neuroscience.

“Originally I came to IUPUI and didn’t really want to do research," she said. "What’s ironic now is I’m completely embedded in it.”

Romine is a Fugate Scholar, under the umbrella of the Sam H. Jones Community Service Scholarship Program; president of Timmy Global Health at IUPUI; ambassador for the Center for Research and Learning; pre-professional coordinator for the IUPUI Biology Club; a member of the Student Development Funding Committee; and an IUPUI Honors College peer mentor.