Skip to content

Student Spotlight: Annika Sharma '20

Hometown: Bangalore, India

Current research project: My project is titled The Oxytocin System in Eulemur: Insights into Mating Systems & Social Behavior.

Eulemur is a genus of closely related lemur species of which some are monogamous while others mate promiscuously. The species also vary in their level of female-dominance. Our hypothesis is that differences in the oxytocin system modulate these differences in social structure. Right now, we're in the process of sectioning brain tissue from different Eulemur species to study the density and location of oxytocin receptors in their brains.

 Thoughts on neuroscience education: I really wish high schools would focus more on teaching higher quality neuroscience courses. The brain is so fascinating! A huge shout out to Dr. Karen Murphy for getting me hooked to the field!

 A fact I find interesting: The dopamine reward system encodes motivation, not pleasure. When we talk about reward conversationally, we usually club 'wanting' and 'liking' together whereas they are actually very different neuro-scientifically.