The Graduate School

PhD Student presents her research to the Board of Regents

Helen presenting
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Written by Kristen Swindells

When Helen Kaiser was asked to give a presentation about her research to the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia on Wednesday, January 8, 2020, she jumped at the opportunity. This presentation experience would fit right in with Helen’s plans for her future career.

The Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia was created in 1931 to unify public higher education in Georgia under a single governing and management authority. Today, the Board oversees the public colleges and universities that comprise the University System of Georgia (USG). They hold monthly meetings to discuss USG business and occasionally invite students from a USG school to present their research in a concise way. This year they invited Helen Kaiser from Dr. Mark Hamrick’s lab in Cellular Biology and Anatomy.

Helen’s career goal, after she graduates from the Biomedical Sciences PhD program in May, 2020, is to become a medical school professor, so speaking in front of the Board of Regents, according to Helen, was “an opportunity to practice taking a broad, very complex topic and putting it into simple terms that anyone can understand.” For Helen, this presentation was perfect practice for her future in academia.

When she arrived the University System office in Atlanta, GA, the morning of her presentation, she was very nervous. She began to walk through her presentation while the room was being set up and the only people in the room was someone from IT, a photographer and a few others. Their reaction to her presentation was, “It’s great! We love it!” and that gave her the confidence to succeed once the board meeting began.

Helen’s presentation was about her research on muscle aging, specifically a particular chemical called kynurenine or KYN. This chemical increases in our bodies as we age and even more in those with early muscle loss. When asked about the important takeaway from her research, Helen said, “muscle strength with age is very important for independent life, long into our older years and we are actively looking for solutions to strengthening weak muscles in elderly individuals.”

Following Helen’s presentation, President Keel said, “Helen did an outstanding job, and was well received by the Regents and others in the audience…She is an excellent representative of Augusta University!”

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