Greetings, fellow brains! I'm Brendan, a two-thirds Santa Monican, one-third East Bayesian, totally Californian neurophile who since 2014 roughed it as a "medical student" in the UC Davis Physician Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD) before joining the DML as a neuroscience graduate student in Fall 2016.
Now, as the lone neuroscience grad student (or MD/PhD student) in our lab, I’ve become a case study of sorts. In particular, I’ve spent much of my time developing a cutting-edge behavioral paradigm which assesses memory for highly-structured, lifelike events—an endeavor which, at first blush, may seem completely unrelated to understanding the brain or treating neural disease. However, by using a novel behavioral approach to elucidate how memory works, we can then address (a) the basic question of how the brain supports human memory, and (b) the translational question of how memory is impacted by pathologies which impact the brain, such as preclinical Alzheimer’s disease. My current efforts are aimed at using brain imaging modalities (e.g. fMRI, DTI) in combination with our new behavioral approaches, to address both basic and translational questions about how memories for complex, real-life experiences involve a posterior medial cortical network that interacts with the hippocampus. Click here for a review we wrote about those brain areas.
Outside the lab I help organize the neuroscience-focused Seminar Outreach for Minority Advocacy series (SOMA), and I continue to cultivate my lifelong passions for musical exploration and creative writing.