Smurf is funded through a Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) in Neuroscience grant from the National Center for Research Resources (NCRR). The SNURF summer jobs provide participating students with a stipend and cover their housing costs for ten weeks while they receive training in hands-on neuroscience research and assist UVM faculty in their experiments.
The students' work is expected to facilitate the generation of publications and submissions of research grant proposals by their faculty mentors. Besides training in research, this program also provides information and counseling regarding career choices to these talented students, who often go on to join graduate or medical school programs as their next step of professional development.
Hannah explains "my research this summer has included a multitude of things specifically looking at how stress, anxiety, and exercise are all related. Currently we are conducting dexamethasone suppression tests on the mice to see how the corticosterone levels are regulated within the HPA axis of the animal once injected with dexamethasone." Hannah has been working closely with Brendan Hare, a Ph.D. student in the Falls lab. Their work is examining how exercise may tune the stress system in a way that make the exerciser more stress-resilient.