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Jen H

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)

Expertise

Neuroscience, psychedelic neuroscience, psychedelic biology, genetics and gene technologies, biology, neuroimaging

Bio

Hello! My name is Jen, and I am a Neuroscience PhD at UC Berkeley. My research is focused on how psychedelics alter sensory and cognitive information representation in the brain using functional neuroimaging (fMRI). I graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2016 with a Bachelor's degree in Genetics, and spent 5 years between undergrad and graduate school working in academic research and the biotech industry. My professional scientific experience is broad and includes conducting antibiotic resistance and microbiomics research, assisting researchers on how to use and troubleshoot through immunological tools (ELISAs, protein/antibody assays, flow cytometry, etc), and studying the neural correlates of decision making in non-human primates using electrophysiology and fMRI. I am passionate about studying disease, health and well-being from an integrative and multi-disciplinary perspective. My background will lend well to projects focused on psychedelics, neuroscience, personalized medicine, genetic/immunological therapeutics, and general biology. In my free time I love to bike, hang out with my cat, learn new skills, draw, and read in in my hammock. I am interested in mentoring because I want to support others in their scientific journey through empowerment, knowledge-sharing, and collaboration.

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.

Human Gene Editing and its therapeutic applications

In this project, you will investigate the history of therapeutic human gene editing, what therapeutic gene technologies are available or are currently being developed, and what conditions these tools are being used for. You may choose to focus more broadly on the history and current status of human gene editing tools and therapy, or focus more closely on a specific gene/condition pair that has been or could be explored for gene therapy (e.g. sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis). You may choose to write a literature review paper, write a blog post, or create a podcast outlining the relevant literature and current state of genetic therapeutic technologies... or, you could come up with another presentation method for displaying what you have learned! There are no solid pre-requisites for this project, though highschool level biology would be useful; my philosophy is to meet people where they are at, and modify the project according to their interests and skillset.

How do 5HT2a receptor mutations impact psychedelic subjective effects?

Classical psychedelics bind and exert their subjective effects through the 5HT2a receptor, which is densely expressed in prefrontal cortex and visual cortex. There are several relatively common 5-HT2a receptor polymorphisms in the human population. Little is known about how these polymorphisms affect the subjective effects (visual or cognitive) induced by psychedelics, which are relevant to their therapeutic potential. In this project, you could: 1) conduct a literature review on psychedelic subjective effects and current research into their neurobiological mechanism of action 2) propose an experiment that could help further our knowledge on how genetic mutations could affect the psychedelic experience, and ultimately psychedelic medicine There are no solid pre-requisites for this project. Ultimately we can work together to tailor this project to your experience and your goals!

Coding skills

Introductory python and matlab skills

Teaching experience

During my undergraduate degree, I was a teaching assistant for General Microbiology. I re-vamped and collaborated on new laboratory modules, held study sessions, and taught basic laboratory microbiological techniques and concepts. I worked as a technical support agent at Bio-Techne and helped guide hundreds of researchers through their experiments using ELISAs, proteins, antibodies, and other immunological tools. I TA'd an undergraduate level course called "Drugs and the Brain" at Berkeley in Fall 2022.

Credentials

Work experience

University of Minnesota (2020 - Current)
Laboratory Technician & Laboratory Manager in Neuroscience Decision Making Laboratory
University of Minnesota (2016 - 2017)
Laboratory Technician in Microbiomics and Antibiotic Resistance Lab
Bio-Techne (2017 - 2018)
Technical Support Agent

Education

University of Minnesota
BS Bachelor of Science (2016)
Genetics
University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Neuroscience

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