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Ethan G

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Harvard University

Expertise

Biology, Genetics, Neuroscience

Bio

Science is my passion, and the opportunity to spend my days as a scientist is something I truly relish. I graduated with a B.S. in neuroscience from Brandeis University in 2017, and there I spent two years researching how brains use prior experience to guide future behavior. After Brandeis I worked as a lab technician for 3 years, where I ran my own independent research on variety of topics in behavioral neuroscience. In September 2020 I am beginning a doctoral program in molecular and cellular biology at Harvard University. I don’t exactly know what I will spend my time researching, but as long as it’s focused around the fundamental properties of biological or neurobiological systems - and is cool - I will have a lot of fun doing it. I love what I do, and I hope to share that passion and enthusiasm with you.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Greatest Hits: Biology

From Mendel’s pea plants and Darwin’s finches, to advanced genetic editing tools like CRISPR, in only ~150 years we went from knowing almost nothing about biology to having immense insight into the mechanisms that support all life on this planet. All the information learned over this time span is catalogued in your typical biology textbook, but in this project, we are going to go through this timeline from the perspective of the scientists. What were the seminal experiments that laid the foundations for the study of biology? What were the big mysteries and raging debates in the scientific communities that instructed these game-changing experiments? For this project, we will read the seminal papers throughout the history of biology research to learn just this. In doing so, you will learn how scientists go about asking and answering scientific questions, become an expert at reading and interpreting research papers, and pick up some awesome knowledge about the basic mechanisms of life along the way. We will go through just one of these earth-shattering papers per session, and the work will culminate in a YouTube video, podcast, or review paper that details this history as a whole, or details one specific time point or topic that you found particular fun or cool.

Greatest Hits: Neuroscience

Today’s raging debates in neuroscience focus around how the world is represented within the molecules, cells, and, neural circuits in the brain, and how we use this information to generate complex behaviors. However, the heated debate in the scientific community not even 150 years ago was whether or not the brain was just one big cell versus a bunch of individual cells. Neuroscience is still a young science, and while we still don’t know much about how brains work, we have made substantial gains in understanding in its years of study, and can do such crazy things as manipulate the activity of individual neurons using awesome tools like optogenetics. Following the same structure as the Greatest Hits: Biology project, we will go through the seminal papers and experiments that lead to the major breakthroughs in our understandings of nervous systems, reviewing one per session, and culminating in a final project (YouTube video, podcast, review paper, etc.) detailing the history or one specific point in time in neuroscience research.

Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience

How do brains generate behavior? Every animal, from nematodes with only 302 neurons, to humans with over a hundred billion neurons can perform an impressive array of behaviors thanks to the functioning of the nervous system. In this project, we will read papers on an variety of topics in behavioral neuroscience - including learning and memory, motivated behaviors, circadian rhythms, movement, and others – to understand exactly how neuroscientists ask and answer questions about how brains generate behavior. In doing so, you will learn how to read and understand scientific papers, how to perform experiments, and pick up quite a bit of knowledge about how brains work. The final project can be a YouTube video, podcast, or review paper about one of the topics/ behaviors that we cover.

Teaching experience

I have mentored 9 undergraduate students through all aspects of the scientific process during my time as a researcher - from coming up with hypotheses through designing the experiments and interpreting the results. The students all came in at different levels of expertise, but by the end of their time in lab they were all able to independently run their own bona fide research programs and lead presentations on their findings and ideas.

Credentials

Work experience

Harvard University - Crickmore Lab (2017 - 2020)
Lab Technician
Brandeis University - Jadhav Lab (2015 - 2017)
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Education

Brandeis University
BS Bachelor of Science (2017)
Neuroscience
Harvard University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Molecular Biology

Reviews

"For having only been apart of this program for 3 sessions, I have already learned so much and am always excited to meet with Ethan again."

Catherine from Highland, California

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