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Meet Our Students: Lucy Lai

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Meet Our Students: Lucy Lai
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"With its wealth of resources, Janelia is the best place to study the neural underpinnings of complex behavior."
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Meet Our Students: Lucy Lai
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"With its wealth of resources, Janelia is the best place to study the neural underpinnings of complex behavior."
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  1. Tell us about yourself, Lucy.

I go to school at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where I study neuroscience and applied mathematics. In my free time, I enjoy playing the piano, running, drinking coffee, and reading.

  1. What brought you to Janelia?

I came to Janelia because I had heard so much about its unique scientific culture and innovative, high-impact discoveries. With its wealth of resources, Janelia is the best place to study the neural underpinnings of complex behavior. Coming from a human behavior and computational neuroscience background, it seemed quite obvious that Janelia was the perfect place to get my feet wet in neurophysiology.

  1. What research projects are you working on?

I'm working with Josh Dudman on understanding circuits of the basal ganglia, structures in the brain that control motor behavior. We are interested in the underlying dynamics that differentiate subtle choices in the movements that we make (for example, the direction or velocity of movements). Cutting-edge technologies allow us to control circuit dynamics in the brain to gain a precise understanding of how specific cells talk to each other to flexibly control purposive movements.

  1. What will you do in the next year after your Janelia summer project?

After Janelia, I'll be finishing up my degree at Rice. After I graduate, I hope to do a research fellowship abroad before going to graduate school.

  1. Why do you want to pursue a career in science?

Science is exhilarating, challenging, and incredibly humbling. I love meeting and working with incredibly smart people on questions that are yet to be answered.

  1. What would you tell someone interested in applying to the JUS program? 

Janelia is a place like no other. There is so much passion, creativity, and collaboration here. My advice to blooming scientists is to take any and every opportunity to come to Janelia and experience it firsthand.