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Maggie C

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of Utah


Alcohol neuroscience, science of sleep, pharmacology, psychiatry/neurobiology of psychiatric disease, the relationship between brain and behavior, genetics


My name is Maggie and I'm excited to work with you! In undergrad, I studied Humanities and Psychology, and once I took a Biopsychology class I knew I had discovered a lifelong enthusiasm for neuroscience research. I became especially interested in learning and memory and the neuroscience of addiction. I have maintained my interest in this area in my PhD, which is focused on understanding how alcohol affects the brain to impact other complex behaviors, like sleep. Accordingly, I have lots of knowledge of the neurobiology of behavior, and also of psychiatric disease more broadly. In my future career, I hope to teach and mentor students, and as a Polygence mentor I hope to gain lots of experience with this. I am also interested in mentoring to help students prepare for their own futures! Outside of the lab, I enjoy exploring the outdoors through running, biking, hiking, and camping. I also love to read, hang out with my cats, and do crafts and DIY projects.

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.

Learn about genes associated with mental health or neurological disorders

You will learn about Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS) and use the publicly available GWAS Catalog to identify genes associated with a psychiatric disease that you are interested in, like ADHD, Alzheimer's disease, or substance abuse disorder, for example. Then, you will craft a written paper or presentation describing what is known about some of these genes and what particular roles they play in the disease of interest. This project will teach you about the biological basics of genetics, how the brain/body operates in a healthy person versus in a person with a brain-related disorder, and how genetic differences contribute to differences in health and behavior!

Use a publicly available dataset to understand the relationship between childhood health factors and sleep quality

You will use publicly availalbe sleep study data (for example, the Cleveland Children's Sleep and Health Study) to analyze the relationship between health and sleep. For example, you might focus on how blood pressure is related to sleep characteristics such as the number of times a person wakes up in the night or their total sleep duration per night. Then, you will create graphical figures that showcase your data. After performing this analysis, you will write a paper where you describe how you performed your analysis, what you found, and what it means in the larger context of health and sleep research! This project will give you skills in working with large data sets (including some programming in Excel or R to help you manage the data) and an understanding of how researchers organize and code data. You'll also learn about the biological and neurological basics of how sleep works, how sleep is related to other health characteristics, and how people perform studies to try to learn more about these topics!

Coding skills

R, Excel

Teaching experience

In undergrad, I earned a degree in teaching. This required me to mentor middle school students for a school year and complete a semester-long student teaching internship, where I taught in 9th and 10th grade history and ethics classes. I also did a summer internship in Lusaka, Zambia, where I worked with teachers and school administrators to design a curriculum for a leadership course, and while I was there I taught components of this developing course to high school students. In grad school, I have volunteered for the annual Brain Awareness Week, which brings neuroscience education to local K-12 schools and leads students through educational activities to learn about neuroscience, and I have gained lots of experience mentoring students since I began working with Polygence in 2021!


Work experience

Allen Institute for Brain Science (2017 - 2019)
Research Associate


Seattle University
BS Bachelor of Science (2017)
University of Utah
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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