Student Spotlight September 2012
"April’s interactions as a chiropractor with patients experiencing a variety of chronic conditions sparked a desire to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical research. Her high level of motivation and extraordinary academic background made for a smooth transition from private practice to our Ph.D. program in the Department of Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology. April was just awarded a three-year highly competitive National Institutes of Health pre-doctoral fellowship in the amount of $84,516. We are all very proud of the accomplishments she has made since joining the graduate program at UofL."
Dr. Charles Hubscher, Anatomical Sciences & Neurobiology
April Herrity received a B.S. degree from the University of New Mexico in 1998 and then continued her education at Cleveland Chiropractic College, Los Angeles, obtaining a doctoral degree in 2003. At the University of Louisville, she completed her M.S. degree in Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology in 2011 and is expected to complete her doctorate by 2014.
Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):
My interest to pursue a career in research originated from my own clinical experiences as a chiropractor and the interactions that occurred with patients suffering from chronic pain. I wanted to better understand the complex mechanisms of chronic pain syndromes that seemed more and more common to me. I felt that by becoming actively involved in this process through research, I could better educate patients as well as contribute to science as a whole.
What made you go into this field of study?
As I began looking at the programs UofL offered, I decided to tour the campus and meet with a few of the professors for a little more guidance. I felt that my clinical background fit in nicely with the Anatomical Sciences and Neurobiology department as well as the Kentucky Spinal Cord Injury Research Center, especially in regards to the rehabilitative work they are doing.
Awards, honors, publications:
At Cleveland Chiropractic College, I received Valedictorian and the Clinic Excellence Award for my graduating class. At UofL, I recently was awarded an F31 fellowship from the NIH and placed second at Neuroscience Day 2012. Publications and abstracts include: Ward PJ, Herrity AN, Smith RR, Willhite A, Harrison BJ, Petruska JC, Harkema SJ, and Hubscher CH. (2012) Novel multi-system functional gains via task specific training in spinal cord injured male rats. Neurotherapeutics (currently in submission).
Herrity AN, Ward PJ, Harkema SJ, Hubscher CH (2010) Body weight supported treadmill training decreases at-level allodynia following spinal cord injury in male rats. SFN San Diego, CA.
Herrity AN, Ward PJ, Harkema SJ, Hubscher CH (2012) Locomotor training time affects at-level allodynia in a rodent model of spinal cord injury. SFN New Orleans, LA.
Long term goals/ aspirations:
I would like to translate what I have learned from the basic sciences and apply it in a clinical research setting.
What was your favorite part of the graduate school experience?
The friendships and intellectual relationships that have developed and working in an area that I love to learn more about.
What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?
Graduate research can be tedious, repetitious and at times, quite frustrating. However, I feel that these challenges are part of the process and usually lead to additional questions that ultimately improve your research findings. I think another hardship for graduate students can be balancing family/personal life with a busy work schedule and I find that taking time on the weekend to do something outdoors quickly relieves any stress.
Family life: I am married to Mohammed Gharib and we have a son, Zainedean, who is almost 1½ .
A talent you have always wanted: To be able to sing and play the piano.
Currently reading: Swagger, by Lisa Bloom. A book my Dad gave me on raising boys in today’s society.
Favorite quote: I always liked the phrase: “Maximize your genetic potential naturally.”
Role Model: Both of my parents, for their work ethic, motivation, and guidance.
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? The adventurous voice says that I would be a professional soccer player on the US Women’s National team. The practical voice says that I would be a stay- at- home mommy.