Psychology student earns award in Ready, Set, Research! Competition
Kristin Wilborn, a member of the inaugural cohort of the Psychology Department’s doctoral program, won the “people’s choice” prize in the “Ready, Set, Research!” competition held March 27, 2014 on the UTSA campus. This competition involves “data-blitz” style presentations in which competitors must summarize their research in three minutes or less with no props or aides other than a single static Powerpoint slide (i.e., no animations, sound effects, etc.).
Ms. Wilborn’s presentation, titled The Effects of Discrimination in Inflammation, examined the relationship between feeling discriminated against and people’s levels of a type of small signaling proteins known as cytokines. The particular protein she examined play a key role in triggering and maintaining inflammatory responses and have been linked to hypertension and heart disease. Ms. Wilborn’s study suggests that feeling discriminated against, being stressful, may lead to a person having lower cortisol. Because cortisol is one of the regulators of cytokines (i.e., it “turns them off” when not needed), this blunted cortisol contributes to increased cytokine activity.