Bass Connections Student Stories: Kathy Dai
Chemistry and Neuroscience ’18
Brain-immune Interactions in Neurodegenerative Disease (2016-2017)
Before coming to Duke, I worked in Dr. James Faber’s lab at UNC-Chapel Hill. I got my first taste of basic research and neuroscience by working with mouse brains. I was fascinated by how some brain structures were consistent across subjects, while others were visibly different across variables like genotype or age.
At Duke, I have continued basic research through a Bass Connections in Brain & Society project team. On the team, I work in Dr. Chiba-Falek’s lab studying the genetic contribution to Alzheimer’s disease.
The Duke neuroscience major has a great balance of range and depth. I feel that with every class, I’ve added another layer to my understanding of the brain. “Biological Basis of Behavior” was a broad survey of the field, and then “Brain and Behavior” was a more focused study of specific systems and current research. My favorite class has been “Cell and Molecular Neurobiology” with Drs. Sherwood and Volkan.
I loved learning about how the brain works on a fundamental and mechanistic level. I’m excited to see how these building blocks of neurobiology fit into higher-level functions as I take more neuroscience classes and as I continue my Bass Connections research.