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Emma T

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Stanford University


Molecular neuroscience of memory, vision neuroscience, neuroscience and art, color vision, neural circuit wiring, synapse formation, synaptic plasticity, neurodegenerative disorders, neuroscience of PTSD


Hi! My name is Emma and I am a Neuroscience PhD student at Stanford. I am interested in understanding molecular mechanisms of brain function, particularly at the synapse. Synapses are connections between neurons where signals are transmitted. They are considered the most basic unit of a neural circuit, and are therefore vital for proper brain function! Some of the topics I am interested in are things like learning, memory, brain development, and perception. I was born and raised in Germany, and completed high school in Finland. I moved to the US when I was 19 to pursue a neuroscience degree and have been following my passion in the subject ever since! I have been lucky to have had many incredible mentors along the way, and I am committed to passing on the same spirit of support to my mentees. In my free time, I like to paint, explore the Bay Area, and my guilty pleasure is binge watching cooking competition shows.

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.

Molecular architecture: how is a synapse built?

Synapses are incredibly diverse. They can be excitatory or inhibitory, highly active or rarely active, hard-wired or plastic. These are only a few differences! The diversity of synapses is only beginning to be understood. Some ideas for this project include: 1) studying the ways in which synapses vary and what molecules might contribute to this variation 2) analyzing molecular mechanisms of learning and memory (much of learning and memory stems from changes at the synapse!) 3) choosing a candidate synaptic molecule and conducting a literature review on its known functions

The neuroscience of illusions

The way our neural circuits are organized determines much of how we perceive and process the world around us. Our visual system, for example, includes neuronal receptive fields that respond to changes in light. This can result in funny perceptual phenomena such as the Hermann grid illusion Some project ideas include: 1) Investigate the mechanisms by which a specific illusion is created 2) Analyze how our brain wiring influences our sensory perception of artwork.

Coding skills

Some Python, R, Matlab

Languages I know

Finnish, German


Work experience

Harvard Medical School (2018 - 2020)
Research Assistant


New York University
BS Bachelor of Science (2018)
Neural Science
N/A candidate
Stanford University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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