Data Sciences International Research Surgeon Trains Students to Investigate Neuropsychological Phenomena

Student in the NRI lab

Data Sciences International Research Surgeon Trains Students to Conduct Stereotaxic Surgery to Investigate Neuropsychological Phenomena

During spring break a select group of SUNY Old Westbury students spent time working in the laboratory under the direction of Dr. Lorenz S. Neuwirth from the Psychology Department and the SUNY Neuroscience Research Institute (SUNY-NRI).  Neuwirth was recently awarded a Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) grant, which provided the students he mentors a unique opportunity to be trained in neurosurgery. 

Five of Neuwirth’s research students [from left to right: Samantha Rubi (Biology, minor in Psychology-CSTEP), Nimra Hameed (Biology, minor in Psychology-CSTEP), Jourvonn Skeen (Biology, minor in Psychology), Teddy Dacius (Psychology, minor in Social Work-CSTEP), and Asma Iqbal (Psychology)] were trained by Data Sciences International (DSI) Research Surgeon Kathryn Nichols, MS, SRS (pictured in the middle) who flew in from St. Paul, Minnesota to train them.  The students were trained in aseptic stereotaxic surgery techniques and electro-physiology to implant recording electrodes for electroencephalography using DSI’s telemetry devices. 

Students took advantage of the unique training opportunity from DSI.  Jourvonn stated that “observing and performing these surgeries was a phenomenal experience. It took the concepts that I learned in the classroom and applied it to real world situations. I acquired hands-on experience in suturing from an expert in the field.  I strongly believe that this experience has prepared me for my future goals of attending medical school.” 

Teddy added that, “to be able to learn so much about stereotaxic surgery and to then permit hands-on training was a great experience.  It really bridged a connection between the information we are taught in both biology and psychology classes to life! I believe this experience has prepared me for graduate study." 

The College is collaborating with DSI over the next two years to continue to explore more ways that we can provide our students with additional educational opportunities beyond the classroom.  “Our students are smart, talented, and curious observers of our world.  Providing them with hands-on specialized training will further equip them with the ability and skills to use technology and science to study neuropsychological phenomena supplementing their undergraduate education,” states Neuwirth. These students and others will have access to ongoing applied learning research opportunities over the grant award period for the next two years.