Gavin Latona conducts student research into neuronal activity targets memory, learning and a better understanding of epilepsy.
Gavin Latona will graduate from Creighton University in May 2023 with a Bachelor of Science in neuroscience. His journey to commencement included important undergraduate research work into the neuronal activity that plays an important part in the processes of learning and memory. The research can also be applied to better understanding epilepsy, which is a key endeavor of Latona’s faculty collaborators and guides, the husband-and-wife team of Timothy Simeone, PhD, and Kristina Simeone, PhD.
We put some questions to Gavin:
Q. Where are you from?
A. Seattle, Washington.
Q. What is your major and graduation year?
A. I am a senior neuroscience major, so I will graduate this upcoming May of 2023.
Q. What kind of research are you doing, or have you done?
A. I am currently doing research with Drs. Kristina and Tim Simeone. The specific project I am working on deals with neuronal activity in the hippocampus of the brain, which is an important part of learning and memory. We also apply a couple of different types of drugs to mouse hippocampal slices to see how they affect a certain process of learning and memory, in addition to seeing how these drugs might be able to help this dysfunctional process found in an epilepsy model.
Q. Why is research important to you?
A. I think it has pushed me in new ways and has really expanded my knowledge about what I am passionate about – neuroscience. Also, it has allowed me to meet people and have opportunities that I never could have dreamed of. It also has given me a new appreciation for the difficult work that goes on behind the scenes of science and scientific discoveries.
Q. What are your plans after graduating?
A. I will take a gap year while I apply for medical school.
Q. How will your research experience help you reach your goals?
A. Research has improved my critical thinking skills and has helped me become more attentive to details, something that I was not very good at before. It has really improved my ability to communicate complex ideas in a simplified and digestible way for people who are not necessarily involved in what I study, something that I think will be unbelievably important for me if I do happen to become a physician.
Q. Would you recommend research to incoming students?
A. I could not recommend research enough, in whichever major you find yourself. Whether it is political science or neuroscience or English/literature. It will be challenging but enjoyable if it is related to something you care about. It gives you a different experience to that of being a student. And it will help humble you in what you think you know, really enhancing your critical thinking/outside-of-the-box skills because you will be exposed to so many questions you would not otherwise have encountered if you had not done research.