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Grace P

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of California San Diego (UCSD)


sensory neuroscience, 2 photon calcium imaging, behavior, social behavior, electrophyisology


Howdy! My name is Grace Padilla and I am a first year Ph.D. student in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Univeristy of California, San Diego. I finished my Bachelors at Westminster College in 2020, where I majored in neuroscience and minored in music, specifically vocal performance. My research interests are how organisms take sensory information from the world around them and use that to guide behavior! (e.g. I want to know the neural activity of when a fish smells an alarm substance and behaves in an aroused/anxious state). Outside of academia, I love to be outside hiking, camping, surfing, and backpacking. I also really love music: I play 4 instruments and I enjoy salsa dancing and swing dancing. I have 1 cat named Reuben who is a fluffy monster that I absolutely adore. When the pandemic is over, I look forward to seeing my friends and family again, traveling, and creating fun memories.

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.

Do nervous jitters actually help you do better?

Induce an anxious state in people (make them watch a 5 minute jump scare video) and then have them complete a reaction-time task to see if an aroused internal state effects performance. Compare this group with a control group. (this project could go in many different directions, there are lots of possibilities/variations!)

Coding skills

introductory python skills

Teaching experience

I worked as a teaching assistant while I was in my undergraduate institution for 3 semesters. My job was to assist with laboratory practices, grade papers, and help students with intellectual content in the class. I also developed and modified behavioral neuroscience labs to make them accessible to undergraduate students in the classroom.


Work experience

McNair Summer Research Program (2019 - 2020)


Westminster College in Salt Lake City
BS Bachelor of Science
University of California San Diego (UCSD)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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