Keila Campos

Mentor: Dr. Sara Burke
College of Medicine
 
"Growing up, I have always had a passion for scientific research. However, upon arriving at the University of Florida as a college freshman, I was unsure how to get myself involved and incorporate science into my life outside of the classroom. I enrolled in a class called Science for Life Seminar, where principle investigators presented their research, which is how I was introduced to Dr. Sara Burke. When Dr. Burke presented her ongoing research during class, I felt very passionate about her work and knew her lab would be a great fit for me. Through her laboratory, I am now able to spend my time doing science hands-on, allowed me to take what I learned in class and apply it to the lab. Research has enriched my life in every way possible and has given me a chance to experience more than just a textbook."

Major

Psychology

Minor

N/A

Research Interests

  • Ketogenic Diet
  • Cognitive Aging
  • Animal Models

Academic Awards

  • Bright Futures Scholarship 2014-16
  • Dean's List 2014-15
  • University Scholars Program 2016

Organizations

  • Alpha Epsilon Delta
  • Society for Neuroscience

Volunteer

  • Guardian Angels
  • Malcom Randall Veterans Affairs Medical Center

Hobbies and Interests

  • Learning Italian
  • Baking
  • Ultimate Frisbee
  • Weight Lifting

Research Description

Characterizing the Effects of the Ketogenic Diet in Aged Rodents
Ketogenic diets are high fat diets that utilize ketone bodies, which are derived from fats, to support the body’s metabolic needs instead of carbohydrates. While ketogenic diets have been used for the treatment of epilepsy for nearly a century, we hypothesize they could also be used as a dietary therapeutic intervention to alleviate normal cognitive and physical aging by normalizing the altered metabolic state of the brain. Restoration of proper metabolic activity, and bypassing impaired glucose metabolism that often occurs with age, may alleviate altered excitability observed in the hippocampus with advancing age. The objective of this project is to elucidate some of the molecular effects of the ketogenic diet using a rodent model of aging, as ketogenic diets are currently being used as a treatment for many age-related disease states. Young (4 months; n=10) and aged (20 months; n=10) male Fisher 344 x Brown Norway F1 Hybrid rats were randomly placed on either a high fat ketogenic diet or a calorically and nutritionally equivalent control diet. The rodents remained on the diet for 12 weeks, with weekly blood monitoring for glucose and β-Hydroxybutyrate levels to verify that the rodents on the ketogenic diet were in ketosis. Before, during and after implementation of the diet, the grip strength of the rats was measured to determine if the ketogenic diet resulted in physical changes. On the last week of the diet, rats were tested on a spatial navigation task, the Morris water maze, to determine if changes in cognitive function result from the diet. After completion of the diet, the left hippocampus was isolated and protein was extracted. Protein expression of several glucose and ketone body transporters was quantified using Western blotting to determine if a ketogenic diet changes expression levels of these transporters, helping to determine the mechanism of the diet’s efficacy at alleviating multimodal age-related decline.