Las Vegas, N.M. – New Mexico Highlands graduating biology major Brittney Mares has co-authored a research paper with nine scientists from the University of New Mexico. The paper was published in Developmental Neuroscience March 28, 2019.
“I was part of a research team at the University of New Mexico in the summer of 2018 that found a link between babies being born with prenatal brain injuries and having altered immune systems,” Mares said. “For our research, we used a rat model in which we induced cerebral palsy, a brain injury.”
Mares, a 23-year-old Las Vegas, New Mexico, native and the first in her family to complete college, will graduate from Highlands in May 2019. She credits her Highlands professors with preparing her to succeed academically. Mares, who has a 6-year-old daughter named Zaishah, said it meant a great deal to her that her professor, Dr. Jessica Snow, was also a role model for combining science and motherhood.
“Out of all my excellent biology and chemistry professors at Highlands who have played vital roles in helping me reach my educational goals, Dr. Jessica Snow has really inspired me and encouraged me to excel throughout my undergraduate years,” Mares said. “She has pushed me out of my comfort zone and always believed in me. She also introduced me to life changing new opportunities like the UNM research internship.”
Snow, who is Mares’ academic and pre-med adviser, said Mares is someone who is willing to sacrifice a lot for her education.
“That Brittney co-authored this published paper is a highly prestigious accomplishment for an undergraduate. Brittney acts with a sense of urgency in research, which is a necessary quality in a successful researcher, particularly with regard to meeting deadlines for grant and paper submissions.
“For example, she spent nearly every waking hour during her summer research project either in the lab or reading papers related to her project,” Snow said.
Mares said her ultimate goal is to serve as a medical doctor.
“I want nothing more than to be part of something so important to humanity, something I can put all my time and effort toward, that will always benefit more than just myself,” Mares said. “Medicine played an impactful role in my life when my daughter had serious health issues that she overcame with medical intervention. This motivated me to pursue medical school.”