Lea Colantonio ’17, is an upcoming senior at West Virginia University majoring in Biochemistry. Lea has maintained a 4.0 GPA average through her years at WVU. She has also recently started her own research project at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, WV. The research project is titled “Plasma Glutamate Levels in Post Stroke Depression.”

Lea started this research project in dedication to her grandmother Rosemarie Colantonio, who passed away in May of 2016 due to years of illness from stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. The project was started in 2019 with the help from the Neurology Department, Dr. Amelia Adcock and Dr. Jessica Frey, in order to understand the pathogenesis of post stroke depression, which is not extremely well understood. The focus of the study is to investigate if there is a correlation between higher plasma glutamate levels in an individual’s blood subsequent to an ischemic stroke with the onset of depression. In addition to examining the amino acid glutamate, a level of knowledge and understanding will be gained on the principle of post stroke depression in efforts to improve quality of life of the patient following the incident of a stroke. Lea believes that, “Post-stroke depression is a prominent mental disease that needs to be taken seriously by physicians and the individuals that have been diagnosed. The prevalence of this disease is substantial, and the impact on patient recovery could be significantly expedited with a clear understanding of the pathogenesis of the disease itself.”