How/Why Research? Before I got involved in research, I talked with a lot of older students to learn about their experiences with scientific research at Carolina and attended OUR’s “Getting Involved in Research” workshop in order to determine how my experience could look. After thinking about my research interests and potential career paths, I used the BBSP faculty database to come up with a list of specific labs, and after reading into their research and talking with current undergrads in their labs, I sent the PI an email expressing my interest. I am excited about research because it’s a way to investigate my own questions and improve the world.
Research Experience: I was lucky enough to start conducting genetics and bioengineering research in high school at NC State and through a program with the Boz Institute and UCSD. During my first year, I worked in the Strahl lab in the School of Medicine. The Strahl Lab investigates how post-translational histone modifications cause changes in gene regulation, which can lead to the development of human diseases, such as cancer. My project through the UNC SMART program looked at the binding specificities of ASH1L, a histone reader and methyl transferase that has been implicated in mixed lineage leukemias, which commonly affect children and are often acute and treatment-resistant. Somewhere in between, I realized that neuroscience research was so much more exciting and a better fit for my interests in both science and engineering. I currently work in the Shih Lab in the Department of Neurology. The Shih Lab combines multimodal MRI with cutting edge neuroscience tools to study neural circuitry and neurovascular coupling in rodent models. My project attempts to develop and integrate an ECoG recording system with these tools to investigate the underlying mechanisms of functional brain networks and their contributions to different cognitive processes and brain states. This summer, I will be working in the Pedram Lab at HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus. The Pedram Lab develops tools rooted in chemical biology, protein engineering, and microscopy that utilize the distribution of glycans on cell surfaces to further understanding of cellular functioning and pathology. My project will be visualizing the extracellular matrix in the brain.
Student Organizations/Clubs:UNC FEMMES, AMWA (undergraduates), working as a Resident Advisor, Buckley Public Service Scholars, Chancellor’s Science Scholars
Random Fun Fact:I have run or walked through almost every path or unlocked building on campus. They give away maps at UNC Student Stores, but you can also ask me.