- Research Program Mentor
PhD candidate at University of California, San Diego
Neural circuits, animal behavior, neuroscience of addiction, psychiatry and alternative medicine, sex differences in the brain & behavior
BioMy academic passion lies somewhere between neuroscience and psychology. While both are fascinating fields, neuroscience can get into the nitty-gritty, cellular-molecular aspect of the brain but sometimes loses the view of the bigger picture. Psychology, on the other hand, can give a name to so many phenomena that make up the human experience, but doesn't always offer a clear biological pathway to explain our behavior. After earning bachelor's degrees in Neuroscience and Psychology, I spent two years working in a laboratory at the NIH. Now, I'm a PhD student at UC San Diego studying mouse behavior and neural circuitry. My non-sciencey hobbies include cooking, crafting, and hanging out at the beach in San Diego!
Lost in translation: research models of the future
The scientific field has faced many challenges over the years to find models (such as monkeys, mice, worms, or computers) for different diseases and research questions about human health. Some questions can be answered with models that don't even require a living organism, while others need live human or non-human primate participation in order to translate findings into medical treatments. This project would explore the pros and cons of different models, as well as an outlook for what the future of scientific research will look like.
The Neurological Basis of "Long COVID"
We know that some people have long-term COVID symptoms (brain fog, lethargy, loss of smell/taste), but we don't know why. This project could focus on finding what researchers already know about the way COVID affects the body and brain, and develop some educated hypotheses about the pathology of long COVID symptoms.
In this project, a student could prepare a short workshop on the neuroscience behind relaxation techniques. This would be a great opportunity for a high school class presentation, Girl/Boy Scout troop, etc. We would create a workshop that will explore the basics of neuroscience and psychology, stressors that can affect mental health, and techniques that have been studied to effectively decrease stress. We can also incorporate some activities for your audience, such as practicing and comparing each technique.
Photos of everyday objects or activities can be compiled in a virtual journal. We can explore the processes that occur within your brain as it perceives, comprehends, and emotionally connects with the world around you.