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Meet Mackenzie Spicer

Mackenzie Spicer
Date: Thursday, December 5, 2019

Name of graduate program:  Molecular Medicine (Biomedical Sciences)

Undergraduate institution:  Hanover College

Hometown:  Indianapolis, IN

Lab: Fisher Lab

Why did you choose the University of Iowa to pursue your graduate degree?

I chose to pursue my graduate degree at Iowa because of the faculty members and the collaborative research environment. During my interview process, each faculty member I spoke to was welcoming and genuinely interested in conversing with me about my research and interests.

What type of research are you performing?

My research focuses on examining the role of G protein coupled receptor signaling in dopaminergic pathways of the brain and how it’s dysregulated in various brain disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. Specifically, I investigate the role of RGS6 in regulating dopamine transmission and neuronal function in these dopaminergic pathways.

What do you hope to do after you earn your degree?

I hope to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship followed by a research career in either academia or industry.

What is something that surprised you about the University of Iowa or your graduate program?

I was surprised that Iowa isn’t as overwhelming as I thought it would be. Coming from a small, private liberal arts school of ~1100 people, I was worried that Iowa would feel much larger and overwhelming. However, I really enjoy it here and feel like most of the faces I pass each day in the halls are familiar.

What is your favorite part about being a graduate student?

My favorite part of being a graduate student would either be scientific writing or the really cool mouse brain surgeries and techniques I get to perform in my lab.

Who is your biggest role model and why?

My biggest role models are my parents. Both of my parents are extremely driven and motivated individuals with excellent work ethics. Their drive and passion for their work motivates me to attempt to do my absolute best in everything I do. Additionally, they’re remarkably kind and caring individuals and I aspire to be as kind and caring of an individual as they are.