Bio­chem­istry junior Anne Roe has loved sci­ence since sev­enth grade. That interest drew her to the class­rooms of North­eastern and, on her most recent co-​​op, to a stem cell research lab at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine.

I’m very deter­mined,” Roe said, after returning from Cal­i­fornia. “Ever since junior year of high school, I have only worked on science-​​related projects. Now, I’m focused on neu­rology and stem cell research.”

Roe’s tenacity is how she secured the co-​​op at UCLA. “If you want to be a part of some­thing, you have to go to the top people,” she said.

Once she iden­ti­fied Cal­i­fornia as a hub of stem cell research activity, she reached out to sci­en­tists who work with stem cells.

Roe’s name and interest came to the atten­tion of Dr. Mar­tina Wiedau-​​Pazos, the member of UCLA’s neu­rology depart­ment who also over­sees research into amy­otrophic lat­eral scle­rosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s dis­ease. She cre­ated a co-​​op posi­tion for Roe.

Net­working is pow­erful and extremely useful,” Roe said. “By the time I got there, everyone asso­ci­ated with stem cells rec­og­nized my name. Mainly because I’d emailed them all at some point.”

She began her co-​​op by exam­ining the role of astro­cytes in the pro­gres­sion of ALS. Astro­cytes are a type of cell found in the body’s ner­vous system. The project, how­ever, was put on hold midstream.

Focus shifted to assisting in the research and devel­op­ment of a new human stem cell-​​derived model that could be used for more advanced study of ALS.

The sci­en­tific journal Dis­ease Models & Mech­a­nisms recently pub­lished a report on this research pro­gram, citing Roe as a co-​​contributor.

Roe’s co-​​op expe­ri­ence has con­firmed that stem cell research is what she ulti­mately wants to pursue. “It’s some­thing I’m inter­ested in and there is still so much to learn.”

As senior year approaches, she’s already thinking about med­ical school — the next step that will help bring her closer to that goal. “I def­i­nitely want to earn my M.D. and end up either in Cal­i­fornia or Mass­a­chu­setts,” Roe said.

Until then, she stays busy in the world of sci­ence, assisting on autop­sies at Brigham & Women’s Hos­pital and working with Judy New­mark, a research sci­en­tist in Northeastern’s Warner Lab.