Aziza Glass is focused. Her goals are crystal clear, and she has visualized a future for herself that includes healing a variety of species as a veterinarian and conducting research that will make her more effective in the exam room. This past summer, she conducted research with the potential to help others “see” as well.
During an 11-week internship with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute at NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC), Aziza conducted research with the potential to help people suffering from far-sightedness. More specifically, Aziza’s work focused on developing a countermeasure for the risk of oxidative stress by testing the effects of a green tea extract-enriched diet.
“Interning at the JSC provides the opportunity to gain exposure into a field of science that, at first glance, does not have a correlation to veterinary medicine,” said Aziza, who is a DVM candidate with the Class of 2015. “However, I have learned just the opposite. I believe that space medicine provides an accelerated model to study diseases and their development. Public and animal health improves by solving the same problems that enable astronauts to extend their mission durations, allowing them to go to Near-Earth Asteroids and Mars.”
Beyond building her understanding of the relationship between the fields of space biomedicine and veterinary medicine, Aziza said the internship at the JSC helped her improve the techniques she uses in the laboratory and confirmed the direction that she hopes to take her research career.
“I really liked the subject matter,” said Aziza. “It was meaningful work that has real potential for improving the quality of life for people around the world and even for those who go outside of this world.”
Aziza came to Cornell because of its reputation and says that her experiences are living up to the reputation. Case-based learning, in particular, is a good fit for her, as the hands-on approach helps to put issues into perspective. She is originally from Houston and expects to return to the area after earning her veterinary degree. Before that, though, she hopes to secure another internship at the JSC.
“As I learn about life sciences research conducted at NASA, I am further convinced that a veterinary research perspective can contribute to the advancement of space biomedicine,” Glass said. “I can also be a part of a great American legacy: space exploration.”