Robert Julian Garcia, a 2005 graduate of Pagosa Springs High School, has won a summer research internship at Columbia University in Manhattan, N.Y. Currently a student at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Robert is working on a double undergraduate degree in psychology and molecular, cellular and developmental biology. His internship will provide him with the opportunity to conduct research through the Exceptional Opportunities Program at the Kendall Laboratory at Columbia University — headed by Nobel Prize Laureate, Dr. Eric R. Kandel.
Robert’s project involves working under the direction of Dr. Edmund Griffin, M.D., Ph.D., and studying the molecular analysis of the Gateway Hypothesis and drug use. This will involve working with rodent models to test the priming effects of alcohol with the subsequent use of cocaine. The goals of the study include the analysis of behaviors, such as drug seeking, and identifying specific molecular mechanisms, which may be involved with the gateway effect.
Robert moved with his family to Pagosa Springs in 1996, and he attended Pagosa schools. He is the son of Roberto and Ana Garcia. Robert plans on continuing his education after obtaining his undergraduate degree.