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Taylor Harman earns Drinko grant for neuroscience research

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Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Westminster College neuroscience major Taylor Harman earned a Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research grant to analyze amphetamine and nicotine use and examine how those stimulants influence anxiety in male rats.

Harman, a senior honors student from Edinburg, Pa., used the grant to fund her research project “Does Stimulus History Affect the Anxiety-Like Response to Nicotine in Male Rats?”

Harman examined how the history of amphetamine exposure can influence the anxiety-like response to nicotine in male rats.

“I was interested in studying these effects and how they relate to an ADHD model. The results of this study could be used to evaluate why individuals who have ADHD, and use amphetamine, are more likely to use nicotine and how the use of amphetamine and/or nicotine could cause anxiety-like behavior,” said Harman.

The grant enabled Harman to conduct personal research and further her education through hands-on experiences and investigation.

“Performing research has allowed me to gain a deeper understanding for how we go from a question to creating an experiment to explore the question in mind,” she said. “It has also allowed me to gain more confidence in literature review and data analyses, which will be important in medical school and as a physician to be able to read and understand new studies and treatments that are being published, as well as perform further research of my own.”

Harman's research mentor was Dr. Deanne Buffalari, associate professor of neuroscience and psychology at Westminster.

Westminster’s Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research financially supports undergraduate research through various grants aimed at either the undertaking of research and creative projects at Westminster College or the external presentation and dissemination of research and creative works at conferences.

For more information on the Drinko Center for Undergraduate Research, contact director Dr. Patrick Lackey at

For more information about the neuroscience program at Westminster, visit