Ana Estevez, Neuroscientist: Having a Blast with the Brain

It’s the annual Brain Blast in Johnson Hall of Science, and a local child’s eyes almost pop out of her head as she looks at a cross-section of a human brain that shows the effects of concussion. It’s hard to tell if she’s awe-struck or grossed out.

Professor Ana Estevez helps organize Brain Blast, which features St. Lawrence students and neuroscience faculty “leading various hands-on and interactive exhibits that highlight the wide variety of neuroscience research being conducted at St. Lawrence,” she says.

It’s just one thing Estevez is involved in. Besides teaching (one of her courses is called Drugs and the Brain), she has been the faculty mentor for the women's lacrosse and cross country teams; does research – with her students – in ion channel physiology and neurodegeneration; and is a member of St. Lawrence’s Health Careers Committee and faculty advisor to the biology honorary.

“My students learn material that is current in the ever-changing neuroscience landscape, and are constantly required to think critically about it,” she says. “What experiment would they design to test a particular hypothesis?  In labs, they learn some techniques used to study brain function. Then they apply them to research with a faculty mentor, and many of these projects help expand the general knowledge in neuroscience when they get published.”