Marissa Metz wins 2017 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Marissa grew up in Sulphur, a small town in Oklahoma where she became interested in studying the brain after dissecting a sheep's brain in a high school biology class. She went on to major in psychology at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs and fell in love with research while pursuing an undergraduate thesis in Dr. Lori James's lab.

Towards the end of her undergraduate degree, she started to become dissatisfied with the lack of biological, mechanistic explanations for the things she was studying, so she decided to try her hand at cellular and molecular research in developmental neurobiology in Dr. Eugenia Killian's lab.

This experience convinced Marissa that she wanted to become a researcher to study cellular and molecular neurobiology and she decided to pursue a PhD. Now, she is trying to understand why the receptors in our brains that sense painkilling drugs respond differently to drugs depending on where they are in a neuron.

The goal of her work is to help the field develop treatments to harness the painkilling abilities of these receptors while avoiding negative effects of tolerance and withdrawal.