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shikha's picture

introduction

I'm Shikha, a senior Biology and Computer Science double major at Bryn Mawr. Due to my computer science background, I often think of the brain as a type of computer.

I was born in India, but I have grown up in 6 countries. As I learned how to adapt to and respect different cultures and societies, my mind became more receptive to various ways of thinking and learning. My experiences in different countries have added a rich cultural diversity to my life, which I hope to bring to our discussions. I have spent most of my life in Europe and have constantly struggled to balance the Western values I learned at school and saw outside my home in general, and the Indian values I was taught and expected to follow by my parents.

My eldest brother is mentally handicapped and despite being 9 years older, he has almost always been mentally younger than me. I'm sure my interest in the brain stems from trying to understand his condition as well as wanting to explore ways to help him. I hope to get a Phd in Neuroscience and spend most of my life studying and researching some aspect of the brain.

In the past two summers, I have worked in two computational neuroscience labs. In one I studied cognitive-motor behavior in Parkinson’s disease patients to develop rehabilitative strategies for patients in early stages of Parkinson's disease. In the other one I worked on a neuroeconomics study which uses functional MRI of subjects engaged in economic behavioral tasks. I also currently work in Dr. Greif's lab in which we are studying the expression of synaptotagmin, a transport protein, during early neurite development in vitro using rat sympathetic neurons. All this research is extremely interesting and I can bring my experiences from working in these labs and doing empirical research to the discussion.


I have been thinking about a lot of brian-related questions simply because I have been reading a lot about the research going on at graduates schools I have applied to.

Questions:

1. What are the neural correlates of consciousness?

2. Why do some people experience phantom limbs?

3. How do social factors affect the decisions (especially economic decisions) people make?

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