Alexandra Alberdi

Mentor: Dr. David Julian
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
 
"Initially, I was interested in research as an extension of my pursuing career in the field of veterinary medicine with emphasis in conservation in aquatic animals. However, once I became involved I learned that there are many different kinds of research all of which are important and serve the same basic principle; to utilize a hands-on approach to discovering or improving innovative ideas. However, sticking with the theme of veterinary medicine I am also interested in the way organisms and their environment interact in both symbiotic and antagonistic ways, especially in today’s dynamic environment."

Major

Animal Sciences

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Synergistic Stress Impacts on Organisms
  • Prioritization of Gene Expression in Organisms
  • Molecular Stress Response Mechanisms in Organisms

Academic Awards

  • Clearwater Central Catholic IB Class of 2012 Salutatorian
  • University Scholars Program
  • Dean's List

Organizations

  • Delta Gamma Fraternity
  • Order of Omega
  • Pre-Veterinary Medicine Club

Volunteer

  • Veterinary Community Outreach Program
  • Dance Marathon
  • Gators March for Babies

Hobbies and Interests

  • Scuba Diving
  • Fishing
  • Soccer
  • Traveling

Research Description

The Effects Exposure of Lethal Levels of Copper and Temperature Have on an Organism Pre-exposed to Sub-lethal Levels of Copper and Temperature
My research focuses on the effects multiple environmental stressors have on the survival rate an organism. Organisms are often exposed to a variety of stressors, for example extreme temperatures or exposure to environmental toxins. Molecular stress responses are a mechanism by which animals respond to environmental stressors. These responses involve the expression of stress response genes and subsequent translation of stress response proteins that mitigate damage caused by specific environmental stressors. In some cases, exposure to a single sub-lethal level of stress enhances the organism’s tolerance to a future exposure to the same stressor at an otherwise lethal level. However, very rarely do organisms experience just one stressor in their natural environment. More frequently they are exposed to combinations of stressors that can interact to alter the expression of stress response pathways. My research is attempting to answer the question of whether an organism will lose its ability to have an adaptive response toward a toxic stressor if it has been previously exposed to toxic and heat stressors simultaneously? I will be conducting this experiment by exposing a species of nematode, Caenorhabditis elegans, to both lethal and sub-lethal levels of copper and temperature and measuring survival rate.