Graduate: Explore Health Professions

Sommer Vogel (Clinical Laboratory & Nutritional Sciences)

UMass Lowell Clinical Laboratory & Nutritional Sciences graduate student Sommer Vogel presented research for detecting residual microorganisms left on a surface after a cleaning process using an ATP Bioluminescence Meter. To evaluate the performance of safer (green) approaches to disinfection, rapid methods of detection are needed. Sommer and her research team evaluated the Hygiena SystemSure Plus (Hygiena, Camarillo, CA) for sensitivity across the growth curve and precision in comparison to culture for Escherichia coli (ATCC 21214) and Staphylococcus aureus (ATCC 6538). The team concludes that the ATP meter sensitivity is dependent on bacterial growth stage and the precision of the device is adequate with both organisms. Future work will include a field pilot study. As for Sommer's future, she plans to work in the medical research field. She says she's "gaining the education and the learning and the lab," and together with her previous work experience, she'll compile "all of the necessary components to be a good candidate to work in medical research."

Laura Donigian '11 (Physical Therapy)

Laura Donigian is a physical therapy doctoral student in the School of Health and Environment. She and her research group conducted a case study to determine the association between changes in psychological and physiological biomarkers of stress and performance in a student, track athlete during a non-competitive and competitive season. Laura started her education at UMass Lowell back in 2004 as an undergraduate student and has stayed because she says her education experience at the University has been "great." Laura has been especially pleased about her opportunities for research and says the faculty in her program are “very active in physical therapy itself" and "very experienced," and that she values their “feedback and the currentness of what’s going on” in the field now. Laura graduates in May and plans to practice physical therapy and outpatient clinic with neurologically based patients.

Rebecca McCabe and Amanda Lopes (Physical Therapy)

Rebecca McCabe and Amanda Lopes are graduate students in the Physical Therapy Department. They conducted a study to assess the effect of exercise and relaxation intervention for improving symptoms of anxiety and stress among those with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), which they presented at the 2011 Student Research Symposium. Their research teammate Nicholas Baltisberger, who is also a physical therapy graduate student, earned his bachelor’s degree in exercise physiology at the University. He commented off camera about his education at UMass Lowell. “The education is really good," he says. "A lot of the same professors who teach in Undergraduate also teach in the Physical Therapy Department. I like the quality of the professors. They are the gurus of their field; very smart and very inspiring. So I enjoyed that quite a bit.” Nicholas was excited for this research opportunity, “to work with autistic people and to study heart rate variability,” especially “in terms of cardiopulmonary and how the heart can be a measurement of one’s psychological stress.” Immediately following graduation this May, Nicholas plans to take the licensure exam and work in Outpatient.