Student Research Spotlight - Beatriz Carmona
Beatriz Carmona won third place in the category, University-Wide Undergraduate Division of Human Sciences, Social Sciences, Creative Arts and Humanities, during the 2020 Auburn Research: Virtual Student Symposium.
Hometown: Eufaula, Alabama
Major: Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition/Dietetics
College: Human Sciences
Department: Nutrition, Dietetics and Hospitality Management
Class year: 2021
Faculty mentor: Michael Greene
Circadian Disruption of Core Clock Genes bmal, reverb-a, per2 and cry1 in Adipose Tissue due to Western-diet Induced Obesity
What are you researching?
My research looks at how circadian rhythms, essentially patterns of gene expression, are changed in the body due to Western-diet induced obesity. It’s known that externally disrupting circadian rhythms can lead to metabolic disease and obesity, but we wanted to explore the reverse relationship: if obesity alone can alter the body’s internal clock. Evidence suggests that this is the case.
How could the results benefit individuals, agencies or companies?
The Western diet, characterized by high fat and sugar, is increasingly popular in many parts of the world. We continue to learn more about its long-term physiological implications every day, and this project is a small piece of that puzzle. The study of circadian rhythmicity and its relationship to metabolism is fairly new but shows promise in helping the healthcare field understand how obesity is much more than just extra weight.
Tell us why you enjoy research.
I’ve enjoyed helping answer a question that helps contribute to science in some capacity. The field of nutrition is constantly updating as we learn more about the human body and how it changes with external factors, so it’s exciting to be a part of that.
What advice would you give to other students considering doing a research project?
If you have no clue where to start, reach out to the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors! They’ll help situate you with the resources you need. And once you start on a project, don’t fret if some things don’t work out or you have to reshape your question; this is part of the process. Research is a great way to find out where your interests lie, and it paves the way for many other opportunities.
Tell us about any hobbies or activities you enjoy.
If I have a free weekend, I love getting a change of scenery by going hiking! On a rainy day, I’m often picking up miscellaneous craft projects, such as crocheting or collaging.