I am nearing the end of my first year as a post baccalaureate research trainee in the Carrasquillo Lab at the National Institutes of Health. Our lab studies the anatomical, molecular, and cellular mechanisms underlying pathological pain states. Specifically, our research focuses on the Central Nucleus of the Amygdala and its contributions to mechanical allodynia as well as pain-related aversive and anxiogenic behaviors. I am currently working on a project that looks at the intrinsic firing properties of neurons that receive projections from the Central Amygdala, using electrophysiology.
Duke's Psychology and Neuroscience department, and the Neuroscience major, in particular, provided me with a multidisciplinary education that not only provided me with a solid background in the cellular, synaptic, and circuit-level workings of the brain, but an understanding of the larger human and societal implications of my research. I took classes ranging from 'Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology' to 'Community Intervention Research.' This range of perspectives has enriched my understanding of the research that I am contributing to, as well as to my larger understanding of the value of scientific inquiry and the ability of science to improve human life.