Make The Connection

July 13, 2022 | By Cole Hatcher

Understanding Anxiety

Ohio Wesleyan Student’s Research Explores the Impact of Adolescent Stress

Abby Biddle ’23 will use her Ohio Wesleyan research as a stepping stone to work and graduate studies in behavioral neuroscience.

Name: Abby Biddle ’23
Hometown: West Chester, Ohio
Major: Neuroscience (Cognitive and Behavioral Tract)
Minor: Psychology
OWU Connection Experience: Summer Science Research Program

Biddle is participating in Ohio Wesleyan’s annual 10-week Summer Science Research Program (SSRP). She is completing a project titled “Determining the Effects of Adolescent Stress on Psychiatric-Related Behaviors and Neurobiology of Adult Mice” under the mentorship of Chelsea Vadnie, Ph.D., assistant professor of Psychology and Neuroscience. 

What I’m Studying

“Twenty to 30 percent of people experience an anxiety or mood disorder in their lifetime with the median age of onset being approximately 17 for anxiety disorders and approximately 31 for mood disorders. We want to know what happens to the brain in the period before the onset of these disorders, adolescence. So, we are using mice to see how stress during adolescence affects their anxiety and depressive-like behaviors later in life.”

My Favorite Moments

“My favorite part of my SSRP experience has been being able to work one-on-one with Dr. Vadnie. She is a brilliant neuroscientist and mentor, and learning from her has been one of the best opportunities during my years at OWU.”

Lessons Learned

“The key lessons that I am learning from this experience are basic research protocols for behavioral testing in mice and molecular neuroscience. These will help me not only in the rest of my undergrad experience working in Dr. Vadnie’s lab but also when I move on to graduate school and actually work in the field.”

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan

“I chose OWU because of opportunities like the SSRP and because it is a small school where I can work one-on-one with professors. Also, it doesn’t hurt that campus, especially the academic side, is really pretty.”

My Plans After Graduation

“I hope to take a year to work as a research lab assistant in my field to get more laboratory experience in behavioral neuroscience. From there, I would like to go on to grad school to get my master’s and potentially Ph.D. OWU has helped me prepare for these roles with the SSRP program and other Career Connection opportunities.”