In the realm of bioengineering, venturing into the field of neuromechanobiology is the road less traveled. For Georgia Tech PhD student Cara Motz, pursuing research that remains largely uncharted is part of the excitement, and her passion in mechanistic research is what led her to receiving a scholarship from the prestigious Society of General Physiologists (SGP), making her one of four recipients.
“Receiving this scholarship is huge for giving me the motivation and resources to continue paving the way in a largely underdeveloped field and area of research,” said Motz in an interview with SGP.
Established at the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) at Woods Hole, the Society of General Physiologists is committed to advancing research in the field of physiology. It also seeks to recognize and cultivate excellence within the next generation of aspiring general physiologists, selecting MBL scholars from the students accepted to any one of four MBL Advanced Research Training Courses: Embryology, Neural Systems and Behavior, Neurobiology, and Physiology. Motz is currently enrolled in the MBL neurobiology course.
Motz’s research interest is focused on evaluating the mechanobiological effects of the elusive Glutamate Delta 1 Receptor, specifically its role in neurodevelopment through synaptogenesis, which is the process of forming connections between brain cells. This type of research is essential in providing insights into neurodevelopmental disorders or conditions and could possibly lead to the development of new treatments or interventions to improve brain health.
“It reassures and encourages me that mechanistic research is still important and there are people out there that value it and support it, even when it sometimes seems unorthodox or full of risks.” said Motz.
As an SGP scholar, Motz will be entering a Society dedicated to innovation, education and training. Scholars for each year are not only featured in the SGP social media account and newsletter, but they also receive a $500 award and a one-year complimentary membership to SGP, including online access to the Journal of General Physiology.
“It excited me to continue pursuing this work knowing that I have a community willing to support developing scientists,” said Motz.