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‘Remarkable’ Research

Undergraduate research published in peer-reviewed journal 

When Marissa Maroni, ’19, Hannah Deane, ’21 and Kimberly Capri, ’19, took part in an undergraduate research project, they never expected their work would get published.

But that’s exactly what happened when their research on circadian disruption, mentored by Bridgewater State University Professor Joseph Seggio, was selected as an “editor’s pick” in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience.

“It’s remarkable to publish with undergraduates in a peer-reviewed journal,” said Dr. Jenny Shanahan, assistant provost for academic affairs. “It’s unprecedented in my career to have a publication with undergrad authors selected for such an honor.”

For their research, the group studied sleep disruptions in mice and the effects they have on their overall health and behavior.

What they discovered is that the same breed of mice commonly used in global biomedical research are slightly different when bred in different labs, which can affect the resulting data.

“Mice bred at different places are not the same mouse after all. There are differences that appear in the research,” Seggio said.

The BSU-led study has been accessed online by nearly 5,000 readers.

Being able to perform this research and to be published as an undergraduate, has helped open doors and pave the way for the student researchers.

“I was able to get so much out of my undergraduate research experience,” Capri said, who currently works as a graduate program administrator in the mathematics and statistics department at Boston University while also pursuing a master’s degree in higher education at the school.

“I was able to grow as a researcher and a professional,” she said. “I gained a lot of confidence and experience that helped me transition from my undergraduate career to a working professional.”

Maroni is currently a graduate student in the neuroscience PhD program at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is studying epigenetics.

“What I’m studying now relates back to the research I did at Bridgewater,” she said. “The faculty at Bridgewater was incredibly supportive in preparing me for moving on to another graduate program.”

For Deane, who recently graduated from BSU with a degree in biology, the experience has been “breathtaking.”

“It is one thing to perform research and go through the process and get recognized at the university level, but to have other scientists around the world have access to my thoughts and work opens new doors,” she said.

All three women praise Seggio for the support and encouragement he provided.

“Joe is such a great faculty member at Bridgewater,” Maroni said. One of his greatest assets is he pushes all of us to apply for fellowships, internships…He really believes in the students and encourages them to push themselves and see their potential.”

For Seggio, watching his students achieve success through hard work is one of the reasons he’s so passionate about teaching.

“People can now read and know that Bridgewater exists and that Bridgewater students are doing good work and will make excellent medical, graduate students and job applicants,” he said.

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