Whether it’s using computers to analyze slide tissue images, mapping the functions of the brain, or working on a study to help amputees partake in meaningful activities, Christian Arty ’19 has made the most of his lab experiences while at Stony Brook University.
“I realized the high level of engagement that’s possible with the sciences when I started conducting experiments. That’s what made it click for me that biology was what I wanted to study at the university level,” said Christian.
Even as a boy, Christian possessed an inquisitive nature, always wanting to know how things worked. “Though it might have been slightly annoying for my parents at times, they gave me an environment to ask as many questions as I pleased,” he remembers.
He learned that science wasn’t like grammar, where you learn about proper punctuation, or history, where you study what happened hundreds of years ago — science, he decided, gives promise to the present and foretells the future.
With its top-notch reputation for research, its high educational value and proximity to his Mill Neck, Long Island home, Stony Brook was an ideal fit.
As a Stony Brook visiting scholar at Northwell Health’s Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, New York, Christian teamed up with physicians, biomedical engineers and physiologists to create a prosthetic to help patients with below-the-knee amputations, swim.
In the lab of Lorna Role and David Talmage, Christian studied the relationship between the basolateral amygdala, where fear, anxiety and pleasure originate and reside and the cholinergic system, associated with memory, mood and motivation. “The brain is very redundant and complex,” he said. “If there is a pathway for one thing, there is probably another pathway that does the very same or a similar thing.”
Christian is now immersed in research for the Department of Biomedical Informatics, in the lab of Dr. Joel Saltz.
“We push digital pathology to a new level, performing computational algorithms on whole slide tissue images to identify certain objects like cancer cells within the tissue. Computer vision, machine learning and all of the cutting-edge software are used here to advance the knowledge of biomedicine and cancer research through the use of data science research,” he said.
Best of all, Christian gets to share his research and the techniques he has learned with freshmen seeking guidance as a Peer Assistant Leader (PAL) in the University Scholars program.
“I love interacting with people and learning about their unique backgrounds and how they came to be here and what motivates them in their career choices,” said Christian. “Additionally, I get to assist them in their transition from high school to college. My goal as a PAL is to give these students the advice I wished I received when I was in their place so they don’t make the same mistakes I made.”
— Glenn Jochum