Clark presents research at neuroscience conferenceCathryn StanleyEditorA local woman's academic research recently took her to all the way to California.Brianne Clark, daughter of Steve and Donna Clark of Barnesville recently presented research at the 40th Annual Society for Neuroscience Conference in San Diego, California. She presented her research, entitled "Stress Exerts Differential Effects on the Recall and Recognition of Emotional Words, Depending on Proximity to the Learning Experience", accompanied by colleague Ashlee Warnecke and Professor Philip Zoladz, both of Ohio Northern University. She spent three days in Sand Diego, Nov. 14-17. "It was really exciting," said Clark, who added that she had the opportunity to meet many people from around the world.Clark said Professor Zoladz has an interest in the effects of stress on the brain, particularly Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in soldiers. He had conducted extensive research using lab rats, but this was the first study using human subjects.Clark said the researchers used a cold presser, asking participants to place their hands in freezing water up to their wrists and then try to memorize a word list. Participants were asked to recall those words 30 minutes later and then again the next day."There is not a lot of research out there on how stress affects visual memory," Clark said. She said the researchers learned that memory recall was increased during the stressful experience, but is inhibited 30 minutes later and the next day.Clark said researchers also measured the cortisol levels in the saliva of participants, to measure their stress level. There was also a social component of the experiment, in which participants were videotaped and were stared at by someone of the opposite sex sitting next to them.Clark said she had done research experiments before, but not ones with a psychical component.Brianne graduated in February from Ohio Northern, receiving a Bachelor of Arts with Distinction, double majoring in psychology and sociology. She is currently employed by Hillcrest at the Ohio Valley Medical Center in Wheeling, and Fox Run Center for Adolescents and Children in St. Clairsville.Clark described herself as an "eternal student" and will begin earning her master's degree in social work at West Virginia University in fall of 2011 and will begin paramedic training at a technical college in January. She plans to be a clinical therapist working with adolescents and children.A 2006 graduate of Faith Community Christian High School, Clark began serving on the Somerton emergency squad while still a student there.Following in her parent's footsteps, she is an EMT-Intermediate with Somerton Volunteer Fire Department, where her father is assistant fire chief and her mother is assistant squad captain.Clark hopes to someday combine her research and paramedic experience in the field of trauma psychology, mainly focusing on PTSD.Pursuit of that field will require her to leave the area, so in the meantime she is content to stay in the area, attending Barnesville basketball games to watch her brother Brian play.Edtior's note: Clark and Warnecke's study will be published in the journal Physiology and Behavior sometime in January or February.Ashlee Warnecke (left) and Brianne Clark (right) are pictured with their research poster at the 40th Annual Meeting of the Society for Neuroscience in San Diego, California.