I have a PhD in Neuroscience, and I’ve done research in tons of different areas:
- When I was in high school, I looked at different ways to treat intracranial aneurysm in dog models with a team of doctors that flew to the lab from around the country.
- At Cornell, I joined Hoy Lab famous at the time for their discovery of the parasitic fly with ears (the discovery was made by tethering a fly to a trackball and watching it run along in the direction that a cricket sound was played). I did not study the parasitic fly, but I did watch my friend harvest larvae from inside the not-quite-dead-but-pretty-hollowed-out cricket hosts.
- My actual study at Hoy Lab was on senescence: the study of aging. I looked at one of the causes of senescence, which is oxidative stress from free radicals, and conducted a genetic screen in drosophila to find genes that reduced the effects of oxidative stress. After hours of changing food tubes and identifying virgin females, instead of finding anti-aging genes, I created an abomination in the form of a nonviable mutant fly with it’s own unique eye, wing, leg, neuromuscular junction phenotype. Although it was externally normal during the larval stage, It was pretty messed up once the adult fly eclosed from its shell: it could barely crawl, shaking all the time, and it eventually died at the bottom of the tube as it couldn’t climb. It was my research project as a Hughes Scholar and I got a cum laude with distinction in research out of it.
- Then off to University of Michigan! My first rotation was in a vestibular lab where I helped design a head post and containment device for the mice that were to be used. The mice were placed on a turn table that also pitched and rolled in the dark to see how well it maintained its head in space.
- Second rotation was on inner ear hair cell regeneration. I thought perhaps by using intergrin it would be possible to attach new hair cells to the inner ear epithelia. So bunch of cell cultures later, I left the lab to join what became my dissertation lab.
- My dissertation research was on circadian rhythms and jet lag. The Borjigin lab had created a unique method using an automated HPLC system from which we were able to take continual samples of melatonin directly from the brains of rats that were free to go about their daily business. Being able to see how much melatonin was created in almost real time told us just what the circadian system was doing, and it was cool to think that no one else in the world could do the same. I discovered new jet lag recovery properties by looking at the direction, extent, and even the photoperiod (day length) of the shift in time schedules. It broke some previous theories, but oh well….
- Finally a brief postdoc – back to electrophysiological recordings in retina (full circle). This time it was in rat retinas, using a multi-electrode array (so looking at a whole population of spikes and not single cells). The subject of the study: light sensitive cells that were not used in vision but are specific for getting light information for our internal circadian clock. I measured the response of these cells to light duration, intensity (brightness), and wavelength (color).
While in school, I took on leadership positions in several organizations including VP/Program director of Association for Women in Science: Michigan Chapter, got involved in student government stuff a bit, delve into the business school crowd through the China Entrepreneur Network and got on the planning committees of a few events. When I wanted something that didn’t already exist in school, I made it happen myself. Thus the China Image consulting project team (now dead) and the Michigan Graduate Consulting Club (going strong!) was born.
I got married, decided to follow my husband to Vancouver for his job since we’ve been in a long distance relationship ever since college. Thus I left my postdoc, turned down a teaching position at another Michigan school, and began working for ReadCube as a Community Builder. That experience gave me some marketing savvy which I’ve found pretty useful in a lot of things.
I love reading, I love drawing, I love playing music and composing (would have been a music major had I not seen the path my musician/actor dad took). You’ll see some of my work on this site.
I also offer a variety of services, which you can find soon under the services offered tab above (now under construction).
Have fun, take a look around, and share in the love of science!