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Vet Gazette

Oregon State University College of Veterinary Medicine eNewsletter

Summer Research Project Takes Brains

July 12th, 2016

CedricCedric Boluda recently completed his second of five years at the Ecole Nationale de Veterinaire in Toulouse, France. OSU veterinary students would say, ‘OMG! Five years of veterinary college!’, but the process works differently overseas. After high school, French students attend two years as an undergraduate then, if they pass an entrance exam, they are admitted to veterinary college.

Another difference between the programs: In France, second year veterinary students are required to participate in a summer research project.

Boluda was fortunate to be selected for the summer research program funded by the CVM Department of Biomedical Sciences, where he will be working with professor Kathy Magnusson investigating memory and aging. “Cedric is helping set up a new technique in the lab: electrophysiological recording,” says Magnusson. “This will allow us to determine if high energy diets influence memory at the cellular level via the gut microbiome.”

Boluda is interested in small animal medicine, and may pursue a specialization in neurosurgery, so his summer assignment with Dr. Kathy Magnussen is right on target: he is part of a team working on electrophysiology. One of the tasks he performs is the preparation of slices of mouse brain, keeping them ‘alive’ in a solution of artificial cerebrospinal fluid. Those slices are then placed on a grid of 64 microelectrodes. “We place the brain on it and choose to send a signal to one electrode,” he says, “Then we record the response of neurons. The aim will be to compare a specific signal, called LTP, in mice on a normal diet versus mice on a high-sucrose diet.”

When he is not working in the lab, Boluda is taking advantage of his first trip to the USA. He has already been to the beach and plans to take a trip to Seattle soon.
Corvallis is a big change from Toulouse, one of the biggest cities in France; conversely, his university is much smaller than OSU.  “We have only veterinary students, so compared with OSU, the campus is really small. It is at the border of the city so we have horses, sheep, cows . . . but my friends and I agree it is more beautiful here. We haven’t so many trees.”

When asked what he likes about Corvallis, Boluda replies, “Everything!  The landscape is very wonderful and people are very kind. I did not know Oregon at all; it is the first time I came to the USA and I was really surprised.”

At the end of summer, when he has completed the lab experiments, Boluda will write a report and prepare a presentation to be given when he returns to France. “I hope the experiments work, and that we see a good difference between the mice on a high-sucrose diet and the mice on a regular diet.”

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