Support Of The 2016 Pathfinder Award Nomination For Isabella ( Bella ) Greene

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I write this in strong support of the 2016 Pathfinder Award nomination for Isabella (Bella) Greene, a student at Oxbridge Academy of the Palm Beaches. At the outset, let me state that Bella is an extraordinary student and it is truly a pleasure to write this letter about her.

When Bella first contacted me in 2014 expressing her interest in working in my lab, I gladly accepted her. High School students in general are very busy with their studies, homework and extracurricular activities. From the beginning, she committed herself to a weekly average lab work schedule of 12-14 hours along with additional time on the weekends for the opportunity to learn new procedures. The kind of passion and commitment Bella exhibited is truly exceptional.

My laboratory focuses on understanding the basic mechanisms of memory storage and aging associated cognitive dysfunction and we are actively trying to develop novel therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease. Bella is involved in a project that is aimed at elucidating the molecular underpinnings of the establishment and maintenance of excitatory and inhibitory synapses. The molecular mechanisms underlying this process remain elusive. Bella’s goal is to determine whether a specific family of molecular motor proteins, kinesins, plays a critical role in this process. There are about 40 different kinesins and she wanted to identify a specific kinesin that is responsible for the establishment and maintenance of components of excitatory and

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