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Ryan Edelbrock

Finding the Right Fit in Medicine: Ryan Edelbrock

During his undergraduate career, Ryan Edelbrock focused his efforts on three things: playing varsity baseball, playing varsity golf and pursuing a career in psychology. When Edelbrock realized that as a psychologist, he wouldn’t be able to prescribe medication to his patients, he decided to pursue a career in medicine, focusing on psychiatry, so he could be a “one-stop-shop” for patients. But Edelbrock soon hit a roadblock: he didn’t have enough science credits to enter directly into medical school following graduation. It was a recommendation from a classmate (who also happens to be the daughter of NEOMED’s College of Pharmacy Dean Richard Kasmer, Pharm.D., J.D.) at Defiance College, in Defiance, Ohio, that showed him the path to NEOMED.

Two years in the NEOMED-CSU Post-Baccalaureate Partnership for Urban Health and a passing Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) score later, Edelbrock is now a second-year student in the College of Medicine who has immersed himself in life at the University.

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

He’s still not sure what career he’ll choose, but he’s seeing opportunity more than feeling uncertainty. As the co-president of the American Academy of Neurology-Student Interest Group for Neurology and an active member of the Radiology Interest Group, Neurosurgery Interest Group and Oncology Interest Group, Edelbrock is finding many chances to explore different fields in medicine.

While they’re all different student organizations, Edelbrock explains that the fields are also related in one way or another.

“I originally thought I’d like a career in psychiatry, but then I shadowed a neurologist. I ended up realizing that I really like neurology, and that and neurosurgery kind of go hand in hand, especially in the field of oncology. A couple of my family members have had brain tumors, so that’s where my interest in neurosurgery was piqued.  From there, with neurology and neurosurgery, there’s a lot of radiology involved in procedures like reading MRIs and scans, so I find radiology interesting as well,” says Edelbrock.

Studying cells

On top of all the student organizations, Edelbrock has also taken an interest in medical research.  There’s plenty to learn about how to conduct research, but Edelbrock is also learning other aspects of the profession, such as how scientists write journal articles about it and apply for grants to fund it. All of this experience will help him later in his career, says Edelbrock, who adds one unexpected benefit of conducting research as a student: It’s a great networking opportunity.

This summer, he teamed up with Brett Schofield, Ph.D., a professor of anatomy and neurobiology, and others to study the distribution and projection of vasoactive intestinal peptide- (VIP) expressing cells in the inferior colliculus in mice.

Slow down, what does that even mean? Let Edelbrock explain.

“We studied an area of the brain that is involved in hearing. In this project, we looked for a specific cell in the inferior colliculus – the area in the back of the brainstem – how that kind of cells “talk” to cells in other brain areas in ways that cause you to pay attention, to regulate sound information or represent the body with respect to sounds, or to make you run away from loud sounds,” he says.

Edelbrock was recognized for his outstanding poster presentation of this research at the University’s Summer Research Fellowship Program in August.

What is his secret to a perfect research presentation?

“Show your excitement about your research. In my research, we found cells that had never been discovered before, so I was able to share that with people – this research was groundbreaking and will potentially lead to more research. Explaining that got other people excited,” Edelbrock says.