Joe Ma

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
My general area of research is in the field of behavior pharmacology. I'm involved in examining the reinforcing effects of cocaine in the rat animal model. My faculty mentors are James D. Belluzzi in the Behavior Pharmacology Lab at the UCI College of Medicine and Charles W. Schindler in the Preclinical Pharmacology Lab at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), National Institute of Health (NIH).
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I was first involved in research by participating in the 1996 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) Program at UCI. I worked for James D. Belluzzi and we examined scheduling effects of dopamine agonists and cocaine self-administration in the rat animal model.

3. How has research enhanced you education?

My research has enhanced my education by developing critical thinking and problem solving skills. Research has also helped me get a "hands on" approach to my education. Instead of reading another textbook, I'm in a lab where one is adding newly found knowledge that may be in future textbookse.

4. What has been you favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

My favorite research experience was spending my summer in Baltimore, MD. working at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). I've worked with rats but at NIDA I had the chance to work with some squirrel monkeys which was extremely enjoyable. While there I also had a fantastic time traveling up and down the east coast.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

My future plans are to return back to NIDA this summer and to attend UCSF Pharmacy School starting in the fall.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

What fascinates me about research is that you find answers that aren't in textbooks. My biggest piece of advice is to find something that grabs your attention. Focus on finding research where you play a vital role and where you are not just washing test tubes all day.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '98 Kirk Pak
Nov. '98 Priya Shah
Oct. '98 Daniel Aldana
Sep. '98 Robert Elkins
Aug. '98 Amber Bosin
Jul. '98 Joe Ma
Recent Year