I’m a PhD student at the Centre for Brain Research. My research involves using the latest imaging technology to study how neurons communicate with each other in the brain so that we can better understand neurological diseases. I’m particularly interested in how we can encourage the brain to learn and re-wire itself after injury or disease. I also have a passion for science communication, and enjoy the challenge of reading and writing about the latest neuroscience research outside of my own area of study.
I’ve been fascinated by the human body since my parents gave me a little plastic skeleton kit at the age of about 6. That sealed my fate – I knew I was going to grow up and work in a medical environment. I discovered my love of the brain during the first year of my BSc. I went on to do my honours degree in the Movement Neuroscience Laboratory at the University of Auckland, and stayed on in the lab to do a PhD. I’m now in the final year of my PhD in which I have been investigating how people stop themselves from making a response when it is no longer appropriate, and the implications for individualizing Parkinson’s treatment. I’m interested in where brain research is going to take us in the future and how it’s going to change healthcare and society.
I’m the Communications Co-ordinator for the Centre for Brain Research, and I’m interested in issues such as how the mainstream media presents and promotes science, how people receive these messages, and how this affects their views on science and scientists. I come to work and am surrounded by inspired and inspiring people who are really dedicated to what they’re doing – they have a clear vision of what they’d like to achieve – but often they exist in a no-man’s-land of funding insecurity. I often wonder if there is a better way to manage this. I guess that’s science vs. politics! I’m also fascinated by the interface between science/technology and the ‘wider issues’ of society – can science help solve the world’s ‘big problems’ – or is that not the point?