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Kay
Youngstrom

Cohort 7

Hometown: Chapel Hill, NC

Major: Chemistry and Statistics and Analytics, with a minor in Neuroscience

Research Interest: Neuropharmacology



Being a Chancellor’s Science Scholar is much more than being the recipient of a merit scholarship; it means that you belong to a community of talented and highly-motivated young scientists.




WHAT DREW YOU TO THE CSS PROGRAM?

The sense of community is what drew me to the CSS program. Being a Chancellor’s Science Scholar is much more than being the recipient of a merit scholarship; it means that you belong to a community of talented and highly-motivated young scientists. I frequently study and discuss current research projects with fellow Chancellor’s Science Scholars. However, the CSS community extends beyond the classroom and research labs. I often go to games and grab dinner with my CSS friends!


WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE CSS EXPERIENCE SO FAR?

My favorite CSS experience so far was throwing a surprise birthday party for a friend over Summer EXCELerator. My friends and I managed to get baby pictures for decorations, and we hung streamers and balloons in the Old East Library during our free time. It was so much fun to have the whole cohort celebrate together.


HOW HAS CSS SHAPED YOUR CAREER GOALS?

I came to UNC with an assured admission to the PharmD program at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, but the CSS requirement of applying to at least four PhD programs has pushed me to consider other career paths. I am now strongly considering pursuing a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences or statistics.


WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY RESEARCH INTEREST?

My primary area of research interest is in pharmaceuticals. I’m particularly interested in neuropharmacology. I enjoy running statistical analyses and doing wet lab research. I am currently in the Auditory Physiology and Biophysics lab in the department of Otolaryngology in the School of Medicine. My PI is Dr. Paul Manis, but I also work very closely with Dr. Tessa Ropp and Dr. Mike Kasten. The lab studies how the brain processes sensory information about sound on a variety of levels. We use a combination of techniques like IHC and patch clamp alongside computational models to study synaptic transmission, ion channels, and network connectivity. One of the projects in the lab right now is investigating the possibility of using pharmacological modulation of potassium channels to improve hearing for those with autism. I am also very interested in public health and its intersection with pharmacy. I am currently an intern at Med Aditus, a non-profit organization that aims to improve access to affordable medicine in Sub-Saharan Africa.