Mary Vollmer

Mentor: Dr. Sylvain Dore
College of Medicine
 
"Research was a completely new concept to me, yet it quickly captured my full fascination. A friend of mine would often enthusiastically discuss with me her work in a research lab and I knew I had to become involved. Working in Dr. Dore’s lab, I delved into the ongoing project absorbing everything there was to learn. Working in the area of neurodegenerative diseases, we seek medicinal protective agents to combat ischemic stroke and subsequent damage. The research focuses primarily on improving behavioral and functional outcomes to improve clinical translation. Behavioral outcomes are important to enhancing the quality of lives our hard work will hopefully one day benefit. Working “behind the scenes” on behalf of an enormous patient population is continually rewarding. Even long hours invested in a project are enjoyable, knowing we have advanced and brought truth to even a small area of science and accordingly opened the doors wider for potential patient therapies."

Major

Applied Physiology and Kinesiology

Minor

Chemistry

Research Interests

  • Stroke
  • Alzheimer Disease
  • Aging

Academic Awards

  • Florida Bright Futures Scholarship
  • Presidential Honors Award
  • Dean's List 2013-2016
  • University Scholars Program 2016

Organizations

  • Center for Undergraduate Research Board of Students Executive Board
  • CRU @ UF
  • UF Club Beach Volleyball

Volunteer

  • Shands Hospital
  • Westside Samaritans Clinic
  • Baby Gator Child Development and Research Center

Hobbies and Interests

  • Advising students on finding research
  • Climbing mountains
  • Fitness
  • Laughing

Research Description

Long-term Neuroprotection of Korean Red Ginseng on Ischemic Stroke Outcome
Stroke is a devastating disease and the third leading cause of death in the United States, 87% of which are ischemic causing serious, long-term functional disabilities for patients. Greater functional recovery for patients is crucial being a major end point in clinical translation and thus, a strong focus of stroke research. Accordingly, functional evaluation becomes an essential outcome measure for translational research bridging the gap between preclinical and clinical outcomes. A means to this end is focusing on the brain’s core defense mechanisms such as the Nrf2 pathway. Nrf2 is an endogenous, inducible transcription factor that up regulates antioxidant response elements (ARE) which play cytoprotective roles by decreasing oxidative stress, inflammation, and cell death in various neurodegenerative diseases. Bioassay screening shows Ginseng, an herbal remedy, to be one of the potent Nrf2 inducers. Since its discovery, Ginseng has exhibited comprehensive antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects combating neurological diseases. Thus, Ginseng holds powerful potential as a prevention and treatment for stroke particularly in its capabilities as an Nrf2 inducer. This study aims to test Ginseng’s efficacy in neuroprotection against ischemic stroke via inducing the Nrf2 pathway.