By Erica Overfelt | Bond LSC
Sometimes there’s a deeper meaning behind why we do the things we do. Whether it be what we study, or research, the meaning is always there.
Alex Marx always knew he would go into medicine, but didn’t expect to do research.
Growing up with two parents who are in health care, and a great grandmother with Alzheimer’s Disease, medicine and certain neurological diseases intrigued Marx.
When Marx came to college he became friends with Dr. Setzer, professor in Biological Sciences, who soon introduced him to research and, more specifically, Anand Chandrasekhar’s lab in Bond LSC.
“I became fascinated with the research on the brain of zebrafish,” Marx said. “It started with doing the day-to-day jobs in the lab, but I was able to get in with working with a grad student on their project. I did various little procedures with him until they saw I was confident to give me my own project.”
Marx started that project in the lab this semester.
“We modify the zebrafish genome by inserting DNA sequences or knocking out genes to keep the protein from being expressed anymore,” Marx said. “A lot of our mutants lack the genes to allow their neurons to migrant. I am looking for certain behavioral differences between wild type zebrafish and the mutants we raise in the lab.”
To Marx, he believes work in research labs could have a greater impact in the world of medicine.
“We focus on how the fish behavior is modified when mutations happen, and there is a possibility that zebrafish could be a molecular model for other animals,” Marx said. “What drew to me to the lab is my fascinations with neuron diseases — my great grandma has Alzheimer’s — and this research helps me understand the brain and could have some implications in medicine.
And the brain is what keeps Marx motivated in his research.
“Just the thought that small work in research labs can lead to big advancements in medicine has kept me interested,” Marx said. “Other labs have uncovered those advancements using animal models, and the idea of that makes research amazing.”
Marx will bring that motivation with him to med school. Marx credits research for making him the student and person he is today.
“It has confirmed and reinforced my love for science,” Marx said. “Medicine is a career where you have to be a lifelong learner. That’s what it is all about, the next four years are learning. It doesn’t stop there though; the field is always changing. You got to make sure you are ready for that and working in the lab has definitely prepared me.”