Kaitlyn Kennard, Class of 2012, is an American Physiological Society Undergraduate Research Fellow. Her passion for physiology was ignited when, as a sophomore, she studied abroad in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico with two Ursinus biology professors, and became interested in the science of the function of living systems.
Kennard is one of 24 participants selected during a time-intensive application process. The program, which is in its 13th year, aims to excite and encourage students about careers in biomedical research. Each Fellow receives a $4,000 stipend to cover living expenses during the 10-week program.
During the program each Fellow participates in hands-on research experience in the lab of an established investigator learning to develop a hypothesis, design and troubleshoot experiments, collect and analyze data, write up and present results. Fellows have opportunities to network with other undergraduates interested in biomedical research, to explore the nature of research and how scientists think about their specific question, to explore career options and what it takes to be successful in those careers.
Kennard is completing her research on the Ursinus campus with faculty mentor, Dr. Beth Bailey, a cardiac physiologist. Her project is looking at pregnancy induced hypertrophy, which is the enlargement of the heart during pregnancy (a normal physiological condition). In understanding the physiological changes that occur to the heart during pregnancy, she hopes to elucidate the pathology of post-partum cardiomyopathy, which is when the heart does not return to normal size post pregnancy.
On the Ursinus Campus, Kennard is involved in Tri Beta and Brownback Anderson Pre-medical Society. The senior Biology major and Spanish minor from New Jersey has worked as a Board Certified Pharmacy Technician at Walgreens Pharmacy since 2008. After graduation she hopes to attend medical school.
In the Spring of 2012 Kennard will travel to San Diego, Calif. in order to present her research to an international audience. Dr. Bailey anticipates Kennard’s research will result in a publication in which Kennard will be the first author. – By Kaitlyn Ott 2013