SOAR Student Profiles

Mary Parsley

Mary Parsley

  • SOAR Position: Member; Alumni
  • Major: Allied Health Science
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Mary Farone

Current Focus: Survey of Mosquito Predatory Ciliate Lambornella for Potential Biological Control

Project Description

The research project I am currently working involves microorganisms known as protozoa. Protozoan organisms are single celled and are found in moist and aquatic areas such as soils, water, tree holes, etc. The project I am working on focuses primarily on a specific protozoan organism called Lambornella Clarki. The microorganism does not inflict any negative or harmful effects to any species other than mosquitos. Even though Lambornella is not classified as a parasite, it acts parasitic to the larvae of mosquitos. It infects the larvaes' brain and result in death. The focus of the research in to find and isolate a pure culture of Labornella as well as determine if the organism can be used a natural biocontrol agent for mosquitos.

Why does this topic interest you?

I find this topic interesting because of the studies involving microorganisms. My interest in science begun with general biology; I thoroughly enjoy learning about all aspects of living things. When my interest in biology begun, I loved to studied things from a cellular level. My interest at a cellular level began with plants and soil. It was very interesting to see how many individual cells can be seen just from something so simple, such as a piece of grass or leaf. I started reading articles about microorganisms found within the soils of some of the plants that I had personal interest in. With my own personal interest and taking microbiology with Dr. Mary Farone, I sparked the interest of general microbiology within myself. Towards the end of the semester I started talking to Dr. Farone about research opportunities. She told me about the project regarding Lambornella and without any hesitation, I wanted to be apart of the research. I find this research very interesting because the possibility to control disease. It could be very beneficial to areas of high levels of mosquitos and even more beneficial to areas with high levels of diseases carried by mosquitos.

What are your professional aspirations?

I aspire to be a Medical laboratory scientist. After I finish my undergraduate at MTSU, I hope to get into a medical technician program to get my certification. My ideal school to gain this certification is Vanderbilt University. After obtaining my certification, I hope to get a job directly after graduation as a medical laboratory technician. I hope to work in the microbiology department, hematology or blood banking. Eventually, I would like to get involved with research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and supervise my own independent research.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

My advice to future researchers is get involved!! You don't have to be a 4.0 student with all of the answers to every question, all you have to have is passion and dedication. If you truly have interest in a subject or topic, network with peers and professors that may have similar interest. Ask questions and be involved. Get to know your professors and peers even if the interest isn't of the same topic and subject; they may be able to direct you to somebody who does or you may even make a new friend! There is no such thing as a stupid question, you simply just don't know until you ask!

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