- Research Program Mentor
PhD candidate at University of California San Diego (UCSD)
Developmental neuroscience, behavioral neuroscience, brain-machine interfaces, animal behavior, decision-making, neuroimmunology, non-human primates
BioHi! I'm Lauren, and I am a Neuroscience PhD student at UCSD. I graduated in 2015 from UMass Amherst with a degree in Animal Science then went on to obtain my Master's from UMass in Neuroscience. During my time at UMass I studied rhesus macaques to understand how early life development contributes to anxiety and stress coping later in life. After that, I worked for two years in Ann Graybiel's lab at MIT where I helped develop ultra-thin probes for treatment of Parkinson's disease. I then joined the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard as a project leader, studying how brain development during adolescence contributes to neuropsychiatric disease later in life. As a PhD student, I plan to study how to develop brain-machine interfaces to help people who are disabled more easily interact with the world and also how development can contribute to abnormal brain states. I grew up in Boston and lived in Massachusetts most of my life, but have been loving my recent move to California! I love going to the beach, rollerskating, hiking, and playing with my puggle, Penelope. Science, particularly neuroscience, can be a really daunting field. I want to show students that anyone, of any background, can be a scientist. I'm really excited to provide the kind of mentoring that I wish that I had received in high school.
Brain-Machine Interfaces and You!
I would help the student identify a simple but extremely effective application for a brain-machine interface, and we would work through the steps that would go into designing it. This could be for humans for even as creative as a song prosthesis for a bird. This could possibly result in a science fair project.
What shapes how animals make decisions as adults? Watching naturalistic animal behavior, we can observe how young animals behave shapes the roles they have later in life. This could be done through watching animals in your life or through zoo cams. This could result in a picture book, podcast, article, or report.