From promoting campus mental health to researching drugs in the laboratory, Transylvania University senior Kristen Glass is dedicated to helping people feel better.
She’ll soon be doing that on a much larger scale — at the National Institutes for Health, in fact. Through a Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award, Glass will be conducting research at the Bethesda, Maryland, facility.
Specifically, the neuroscience major from Crawfordsville, Indiana, will be working in a lab headed by NIH Distinguished Investigator William Eaton to help find therapeutics for sickle cell anemia. The lab is part of the NIH’s National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Glass is excited about the fellowship, which will help prepare her for graduate school. “Being able to work someplace like the NIH is kind of a dream,” she said.
She credits labs at Transylvania for giving her a solid foundation for a career in science and research. Plus, Glass found great value in the critical thinking skills she learned from chemistry professors such as Eva Csuhai. “Dr. Csuhai would write problem sets where we’d have to develop or change drugs around to make them work for other diseases,” Glass said.
It was Csuhai who recommended her for a job as a summer research assistant at Lexington’s Gismo Therapeutics, which is investigating treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
On campus, Glass helped found the Nu Rho Psi neuroscience honorary, which has held bake sales to raise money to support groups like the Multiple Sclerosis Society and brought in guest speakers. She also is co-founder of ThriveTU, which promotes self-care and mental heath for the Transylvania community.
Glass has a bit of academic advice for students as well — especially for those thinking about choosing a different path in their coursework. “You can switch if you think something’s not right for you,” she said. In her case, she opted for the Ph.D. route after being pre-med for three years.
“That can be really scary,” Glass said. “But you just kind of have to trust yourself — to know what path is right for you.”