Deer Lakes

School District

Anita Zhu to be published in Journal of Research High School

Congratulations to Deer Lakes senior Anita Zhu who will be published in the Journal of Research High School for her submission on the Effects of Psilocybin: Alterations to the Brain.
Anita began to research the Effects of Psilocybin, which are classified as hallucinogens, in her junior year when students in Deer Lakes High School’s AP Language and Composition course were tasked with conducting a research project on a topic of personal interest as part of the curriculum.
She became interested in researching the Effects of Psilocybin after a conversation with a close friend about the potential therapeutic applications of psychedelics like psilocybin.
“My research findings display the clear potential benefits of controlled doses of psilocybin utilized as a medication for depression and other mental health illnesses to exert the positives of synthetic medicines without the side effects that often surface,” Anita said. “By regulating mood and through various brain alterations the drug modifies, the personalities of individuals can improve; of the Big Five personalities, patients displayed an increase in extraversion and openness levels - possibly through serotonin uptake.”
Additional analysis should be organized, Anita said, before deciding on the legality of Psilocybin as research is limited and studies are heavily regulated and not often approved for further investigation.
“In the future, when additional evidence becomes available, public opinion on psychedelic drugs may change depending on scientific authentication of advantages and disadvantages regarding the effects of psilocybin,” Anita said.

Anita began to pursue publication of her research at the start of her senior year to engage with a wider audience and receive feedback. She researched platforms for months that published works of high school students before filling out an interest form for the Journal of Research High School.
Once her topic was approved by Journal of Research High School, Anita was paired with an advisor to refine the style of her manuscript and overall flow of her work, which was a “long but necessary” revision process.
Anita’s manuscript received approval for publication and is now undergoing review by a panel of editors. A publication-ready version of her manuscript will be ready for final proofreading within the next few weeks.
“My work being published fuels a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment as my insights, knowledge, and perspectives are being shared with a wider audience who may have previously not been readily educated on said topic,” Anita said. “It's an opportunity to contribute to the collective understanding of a topic and potentially influence further research, allowing me to possibly connect with individuals online who have a similar interest in my research topic. Overall, being published is both a validation of my efforts and a platform for continued engagement with the subject matter and the broader community.”
Anita credited Dr. Jennifer Mann, Deer Lakes’ AP Language and Composition teacher, with guiding her argument structure, honing her writing style, and spurring her to conduct thorough research.
“Dr. Mann's feedback allowed me to refine my ideas and ensure clarity in my writing” Anita said. “Additionally, she introduced me to various research methodologies and resources that enriched my exploration of the topic.”
Anita will attend The Johns Hopkins University to pursue an economics major with a business minor on a pre-dentistry track.
She plans to continue to do medical research in college and relishes hands-on and real-life data collection opportunities in research labs or projects. She is particularly interested in topics that include the correlation of oral health with overall well-being and Medical Entomology and Disease Ecology, especially targeting impoverished communities.
Good Luck Anita! #DLProud

Print This Article