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Student Spotlight

Class of 2017

Hometown:  Commerce, Michigan

What research are you currently doing?  I’m studying the effects of HIV infection and cocaine addiction on decision making, specifically ambiguity tolerance. I look at both behavioral performance differences and functional neuroimaging (fMRI) to determine the neural effects of these conditions. I’m pursuing my senior thesis in the HIV and Addictions Research Program (Dr. Christina Meade’s lab) and spent this past summer as a fellow in the Neuroscience Program of Research.

What are your thoughts on the neuroscience major?  Simply put, the brain is the most complex machine in the world. Unlike many other fields of study, the field of neuroscience is changing very rapidly. It’s a subject where you actually always need the newest textbook edition because new discoveries are happening frequently. Neuroscience is exciting because there is so much that is still unknown and the implications of neuroscience research is applicable to all of us, given that we all have brains!

What makes your brain "light up"?  As V.S. Ramachandran said, “How can a three-pound mass of jelly that you can hold in your palm imagine angels, contemplate the meaning of infinity, and even question its own place in the cosmos?” It is an incredible machine. I am especially interested in how our brain’s plasticity allows us to compensate for neural damage, whether it be from drug addiction or trauma.