Marco Nino

Marco Nino, Undergraduate student, Biomedical Engineering

Analyzes the brain

What is your degree program and expected graduation date? BSE in Biomedical Engineering, May 2019

Please describe your research: I design and build test equipment to run mice through a set of tests in which my lab identifies neurons that send their axons from the brainstem to the cortex, and through which basic, conscious, wakefulness is maintained. This system, the brain’s ascending arousal network, remains nebulous and we are using wireless optogenetic and other genetically targeted tools and techniques to identify and test its component parts. Our goal is to use this information to design new treatments that help patients with disordered consciousness, particularly coma, and patients with overactive arousal states (including delirium, mania, and insomnia).

In simple terms, why does this research matter? Better understanding of the neuroanatomy associated with arousal can improve the clinical care of patients subject to disorders of consciousness.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I started my research in the Geerling Lab one year after transferring to the University of Iowa.

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Research has exposed me to an interdisciplinary working environment–allowing me to gain invaluable skills.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation I plan to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering and work R&D for a medical device company.

Faculty mentor/advisor: Joel Geerling, MD, PhD

Hometown: San Dimas, California

Click here for a story spotlighting Marco Nino

Banner location: not on display—