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Alyssa L

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Harvard University


Neuroscience, Neurobiology, Neurodegenerative disease


I am a second-year PhD student in Neuroscience at Harvard Medical School. My research focuses on the brain's metabolic requirements during activation and blood flow dynamics that feed active neural populations. Prior to beginning graduate school, I studied dopamine signaling in the brain and its relationship to motor control. I am generally interested in understanding how pathological insults to the brain can give rise to dysfunctional neuron firing properties. I am originally from sunny Southern California, and moved to the Chicago suburbs for college where I competitively sailed on the club team and was involved in several theater productions. Now, I spend my time in Boston hiking or biking with friends. Sharing my research and overall academic experience with junior students is my favorite way to pass down the wonderful mentorship I've been given along the way.

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.

Rate of Cognitive Decline in Different Elevations

Oxygen partial pressure decreases with altitude, challenging blood oxygenation which may affect brain function. What is the affect on brain health/ cognition in sudden increased elevation: say, climbing Mount Everest? Does chronic exposure to high elevations increase the likelihood of dementia? In this project, a meta-analysis of published works examining the effects of altitude on cognition would be conducted.

Coding skills

python, MATLAB, R

Languages I know


Teaching experience

I tutored high school students in algebra, geometry, and chemistry for four years. I also mentor high school and college students who are interested in the neuroscience field; this relationship consists of recurring informational interviews / Q&A about college admissions, choosing a major, applying to graduate school, and breaking into research science.


Work experience

Merck Research Laboratory (2017 - 2017)
Discovery Neuroscience Intern


Northwestern University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2019)
Harvard University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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