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Elmont student's work published in science journal

Michael Lawes, a senior at Elmont Memorial High

Michael Lawes, a senior at Elmont Memorial High School, co-authored research on neurodegeneration that was published in NeuroToxicology, a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Credit: Sewanhaka Central High School District

An Elmont student's research on neurodegeneration, co-authored with two college professors, has been published in a peer-reviewed science journal.

The work by Michael Lawes, 17, a senior at Elmont Memorial High School, was in the September issue of NeuroToxicology, which focuses on research on toxicology of the nervous system. He was a contributing author to the article "System-specific neurodegeneration following glucotoxicity in the C. elegans model." C. elegans is a small soil worm, or nematode, that shares ancestry with humans.

Adi Pinkas, an assistant professor in the Department of Anatomy and Structural Biology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and Michael Aschner, a professor in various departments at the Bronx-based college, co-authored the article.

"I was really excited," Lawes said. "It was definitely a lot of hard work."

Lawes said the research, which he conducted alongside Pinkas in summer 2017, found that protein-sugar molecules targeted specific neurotransmitters  —including dopamine, glutamate and acetylcholine — under high-glucose conditions in the neurodegeneration process. The research has implications for those with diabetes and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's diseases, he said.

He also has contributed to a review published in the scientific journal Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology in March. 

Lawes is an officer in his school's National Art Honor Society and a member of the Key Club, National Science Honor Society and National Honor Society. He also co-founded Elmont Memorial's Apple Tech Group.

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