Kristin Czajka, Biopsychology
Faculty Mentor: Professor Naomi McKay, Psychology
Kristin is a senior Biopsychology major and Biology minor who will be graduating in spring 2020. She was a departmental senior awards finalist and is expecting to graduate with high honors. She is interested in the study of brain pathology. After graduation, she plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience and to focus her post-doctoral research on neurodegenerative diseases.
During her fellowship, Kristin found that salivary alpha amylase was an effective biomarker in place of salivary cortisol in cohorts that display a blunted cortisol response to stress. Furthermore, she found that body mass index (BMI) had an impact on salivary alpha amylase levels and that those that were overweight/obese did not physiologically respond to stress in the same manner as normal weight individuals. Her research has been submitted to the Journal of Pyschoneuroendocrinology for publication in April 2020.