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Shayla V

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of Virginia


Neuroscience of sensory perception


I recently received my PhD from the University of Virginia in neuroscience. My research project there focused on the impact of sex on development of neuronal and glial populations responsible for our sense of touch. I've been doing research in both psychology and neuroscience for the last 7 years (2 years as an undergraduate and 6 years as a PhD student) and have mentored undergraduate and younger graduate students for the last 4 years. In my spare time, I love to crochet, read, and snuggle with my cat. I am also very passionate about mentoring students and helping them identify their personal goals and making plans to reach them. One day I hope to have that be a more permanent aspect of my career.

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.

Writing a Literature Review

This project would involve looking through previously published papers and compiling the information into a review paper. The topic could be anything within the field of neuroscience ranging from the role of glial cells in neurodegenerative disorder to the impact of stress on density and connectivity of neurons in different brain regions. This project would improve your ability to read scientific literature, write and edit a scientific document, and deepen your understanding of the chosen topic.

Computational Analysis of Publicly Available Datasets

This project utilized publicly available datasets to analyze data collected by other researchers using computational methods. With open software programs like R and Python, you could utilize existing code or write your own code to explore the large amounts of data that have yet to be fully explored. After identifying the dataset you would want to explore, you could come up with a question that dataset can answer and find ways to extract that information with code. The results could then be compiled and turned into a written publication.

Coding skills


Teaching experience

I have mentored multiple undergrads as well as younger graduate students for the last 4 years. My work with them has focused on helping them develop, perform, and write about projects they are currently working on or hope to work on. I also helped mentor them in thinking about career directions and opportunities they could look into that would help them be competitive for their future goals.


Work experience

Denali Therapeutics (2019 - 2019)
Summer Intern
University of New Mexico (2016 - 2016)
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow


University of Florida (UF)
BS Bachelor of Science (2017)
Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience
University of Virginia
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2023)

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