Brackenridge Introduction: Grace Bohl

Hi! I’m Grace Bohl. I’m an incoming junior in the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences pursuing a major in neuroscience, a minor in economics, and a certificate in conceptual foundations of medicine. I’m from Cincinnati, Ohio. In my free time I enjoy running, reading, and trying new recipes.

My project is in the field of neuroscience. My research mentor is Dr. Shawn Sorrells. I’m investigating the impact of Major depressive disorder (MDD) on the structure of the temporal lobe. The temporal lobe is involved in visual memory, sensory processing, and emotion. Prior research has demonstrated that individuals with depression have reduced amygdala volume. This summer, I will further investigate the causes of this difference through structural analysis. I have obtained age and sex-matched triads of the temporal lobes of 39 patients who had either no depressive episodes, one depressive episode, or multiple depressive episodes. Researchers in my lab have previously sectioned and stained these samples. Using immunofluorescence staining, we have detected two proteins that indicate immature neurons, DCX and PSA-NCAM. Over the past year, I have imaged these samples using a fluorescence microscope. The paralaminar (PL) nucleus is a region of the temporal lobe that borders the amygdala. It contains neurons that remain immature into adulthood, so they will likely be more affected by MDD than other regions of the temporal lobe. During the course of the summer, I will measure the area of the paralaminar nucleus (PL) and map its connections using Neurolucida.

My project also lends further knowledge to other psychiatric and neurological conditions, especially those that often co-occur with MDD, such as autism and epilepsy. By better understanding how structural differences in the temporal lobe are correlated with the disorder, it will provide background for future treatments. My sample set is also unique because of its breadth, including patients as old as 80. Therefore, we will also be able to observe differences in structure across age and sex in both neurotypical and MDD brains.

My current professional goal is to become a medical doctor. I hope to utilize my scientific background to communicate complex processes to patients and further medical discoveries through research. I aim to attend medical school in the future, hopefully in a physician-scientist training program. The Brackenridge furthers my progress towards this goal with its focus on making all forms of research accessible to wider audiences. I’m excited to learn from my fellow student researchers and improve my communication skills.

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