How/Why Research? Research bridges my curiosity and love of science. I was introduced to research at a young age through my dad, who is a bipolar disorder researcher at UNC. In highschool, I had a blast with a couple in-depth, extracurricular experiences: comparing mood and personality data from classes taught in Seoul and Chapel Hill and investigating THERMIS data from NASA on Martian soil. I wanted to fill the summer between my college freshman and sophomore years with an international research experience, so I emailed the Choi lab in Seoul, which studies the functional neuroanatomy of metabolism regulation. I contacted the Sheridan CIRCLE lab at the end of my freshman year and started volunteering during the fall semester of my sophomore year. All of my research experiences have had a tremendous impact on who I am and have shown me the power of collaboration, scientific discussions, and strong mentors.
Research Experiences: I was a research assistant in the Sheridan CIRCLE lab in the UNC Psychology& Neuroscience Department from Fall 2018 to Spring 2020. I assisted with fMRI scans, data analysis, and 3D printing participant’s brains using converted MRI files. The research questions about how adversity impacts brain development were fascinating and my experience in this lab helped me grow as a person and scientist. The Diering lab (School of Medicine Department of Cell Biology and Physiology) explores the causes, consequences, and molecular basis of sleep and memory through biochemistry techniques. I started working with graduate student Shenee Martin’s research on the impact of sleep disruptions on the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease in August, 2019. As part of Chem395, my independent project involves treating primary neuron cultures to investigate the relationship between tau aggregation, neuroinflammation, and excitotoxicity. I will work on my Senior Honors Thesis in the Diering lab this coming year.