HomepageBiologyDemocracy in Science: Dr. Carlita Favero’s Researchers Collaborate to Become Published Authors

Democracy in Science: Dr. Carlita Favero’s Researchers Collaborate to Become Published Authors

Dr. Carlita Favero’s Developmental Neurobiology class teamed up with Avery Sicher (’20) to publish their paper “Moderate Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Increases Total Length of L1-Expressing Axons in E15.5 Mice.”

Dr. Carlita Favero’s research lab studies the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on axon development in the brain. Her student researchers use mouse embryos to model the effects of ethanol exposure on axonal growth. They found that moderate prenatal alcohol exposure affects how a group of axons migrate during development, which may contribute to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders associated with sensory processing deficits. The paper drew from the work of Avery Sicher, a 2020 Ursinus graduate, who participated in Summer Fellows and continued honors research into her senior year. Avery was able to contribute to every part of the process, from doing the actual lab work to editing the final draft of the paper. She says that after “working on this project for over two years it was wonderful to see it finally all come together.”

The rest of the paper came from students in Dr. Favero’s Developmental Neurobiology class, where much of the research was done during their class time. The students even took a democratic approach in developing each section of the paper, where everyone in the class wrote drafts for the abstract, introduction, methods, results, and discussion. Later, the class voted anonymously on which draft sections to use. Emily Thomas (’20) notes that she “…never once felt like [her] voice wasn’t heard during the project. It was absolutely a democratic and collaborative process!” Karen Herrera, a current senior, wrote the results and generated the class’ figures for the paper and can appreciate the amount of effort, time and number of people it takes to publish research. For her, developing scientific methods and writing skills was an invaluable experience and “…publishing is really a big cherry on top!”

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