OhioLINK ‘instrumental’ for Researchers

Lynn Ulatowski, a PhD graduate of Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), recently transitioned from her Post-doctoral fellowship with CWRU to continue her research as an assistant professor at Ursuline College. Her Dissertation topic: Regulation of Vitamin E and Tocopherol Transfer protein received the Academic Excellence Award. Ulatowski has dedicated her career to studying how vitamin E moves throughout the human body, particularly in the brain. Her research could aid patients who are already diagnosed with a neurodegenerative disease such as Alzheimer’s, ALS and Down’s syndrome.

Ulatowski Photo
Ursuline College Assistant Professor of Biology Lynn Ulatowski

OhioLINK provides Ulatowski with access to relevant, current and previously published journals that allow her to generate new research on vitamin E.  “When developing and synthesizing thoughts, experiments and data, it is critical to read and understand what has been done,” Ulatowski said. “Literature searches and resource gathering through OhioLINK is standard to these steps.” Fortunately for Ulatowski, one benefit of continuing her research at another OhioLINK institution is sustained access to the same journals and databases she was accustomed to at CWRU.

Ulatowski is also an avid advocate for researchers who, like herself, are doing the preliminary work for potentially groundbreaking advances in the biomedical field. She recently met with members of Congress as part of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Hill Day. While in D.C., she explained to legislators how critical it is to fund basic science research.

“When people are prescribed a drug from their physician, you don’t think about the amount of effort that started with basic science researchers delineating the mechanism of a disease or drug,” Ulatowski said. “It doesn’t seem as immediately sexy as the disease or drug discoveries. However, basic science is the foundation of research.”

As an antioxidant, vitamin E helps prevent cellular damage. Vitamin E is an essential nutrient, one that is required for normal human body function that cannot be synthesized by the body; therefore, we must ingest it from food sources. It is also an antioxidant. While antioxidants are touted by the health food industry as something to be desired, many are unaware of the exact benefits they provide. Ulatowski is studying how the vitamin can help prevent cell damage in the brain, known as neurodegeneration. Neurodegeneration contributes to diseases that affect memory, brain function and nerve health.

As Ulatowski continues to advance the understanding of vitamin E transport, she calls the resources that OhioLINK provides “instrumental” to her research.