Anastasia Lyon ’17 recently published a research article in PLOS ONE, an open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal. Lyon is first-author of the paper entitled “Two – three loci control scleral ossicle formation via epistasis in the cavefish Astyanax mexicanus.” Lyon’s research focuses on sclera ossicles—sclera being the protective outer layer of the eye and ossicles being the bony elements which reinforce that layer. Lyon examines the genetic mechanisms responsible for the varying sclera ossicles in the Mexican tetra, a blind cavefish.
Lyon commented on the process of writing the paper: “It took a lot more work than I was expecting. I spent roughly 9 hours a week during last spring semester sitting in the aquatics lab typing out all the details about our methods and results and finally the significance of our findings.” Lyon completed the article with the help of her research mentor Dr. Kelly O’Quin, assistant professor of biology.
Lyon attributes much of her success to the one-on-one attention she received throughout the research and writing process, a professor/student dynamic Centre prides itself on. “[Dr. O’Quin and I] would meet every week and review what I had written. After waiting about 6 months, we finally heard back from the peer reviewers. At first, I was disappointed by how many changes they wanted me to make, but then I realized that these were necessary changes … the article was finally published almost a year after I began the whole writing process.”
Lyon is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major at Cenre, with a Minor in Anthropology, as well as being a member of the Track and Field team. This past CentreTerm, she took a study abroad course on chemistry and art in France with Dr. Fieberg. As a graduating senior, Lyon says that the research and academic opportunities she has had at Centre have informed and encouraged her professional goals: “I’ve had the opportunity to present a poster at an international conference on subterranean biology and write my own paper on the same topic. These are useful skills for me to have as I pursue a career in biomedical research.”
Next year, Lyon will be attending the Integrated Biomedical Studies program at the University of Kentucky to earn her Ph.D. It seems that Lyon’s recently published research paper on scleral ossicle formation in the Mexican tetra cavefish is just a first step in an impactful research career. Eventually, Lyon hopes to use her research skills to “explore the use of genetic and or immunological techniques to develop and improve treatments for diseases such as cancer.”
by Madison Stuart 17
March 16, 2017