Current Mentors

Pamela D. Rivière Ruiz  

Year: 1st year graduate student
Department: Cognitive Science
Current Lab: Dr. Lara Rangel Group, Neural Crossroads Laboratory
Research Interests:
I love to think about neural circuitry (all the networks and sub-networks that make up the brain). Particularly, I like to explore how the unique biophysical features of single cells--combined with how these cells are wired to neighboring neurons-- impacts the patterns of electrical activity of the microcircuit they are a part of. To investigate these questions, our lab uses in vivo electrophysiology in rodents to record the electrical activity of individual cells and populations of cells.
Ask me about:
Graduate applications, navigating courses and gaining research experience!
Something about me:
I grew up in Puerto Rico to a Haitian dad and Puerto Rican mom. My favorite hobbies include drawing and playing soccer and tennis and my immediate goals in life involve learning computational modeling of neural networks!
Kevin Lamont White Jr.

Year: 1st year graduate student
Department: Neuroscience
Current Lab: Dr. Shrek Chalasani
Research Interests:
Neurodegenerative disease, learning and memory
Ask me about:
Grant applications, scientific internships, conferences, networking
Something about me:
I hail from St. Louis, MO. I love to party and dance. Jazz music makes me happy and I love to meet new people in general.

Christian Cazares

Year: 1st year graduate student
Department: Neuroscience
Current Lab: Adam Aron
Research Interests:
Cognition and action, intercranial data analysis, brain stimulation
Ask me about:
Graduate applications, travel awards, NSF-GRFP, Ford Fellowship, undergraduate funds, interviews, post-baccalaureate programs
Something about me:
I was born in Mexico and somehow ended up in California where I graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in Cognitive Science. I took time off to do research at UPenn, and now I'm back in California to focus on Neuroscience. Besides the brain, I love playing videogames, watching sports and chilling with friends. 

Maribel Patiño

Year: 1st year MD/Ph.D.
Department: Neuroscience,  Medical Scientist Training Program
Current Lab:N/A
Research Interests:
I am interested in how brain structure and function is altered in disease states. Anything from neurodegeneration to addiction piques my interest.
Ask me about:
Travel awards, undergraduate research fellowships, post-baccalaureate programs, MD/Ph.D. applications
Something about me:
I am a 1st generation college student. I grew up in Lamont, CA (central valley), went to undergrad at UC Berkeley, and did a postbac program at UPenn. I enjoy anything cat related and have 15+ bows and wear one everyday.

Lauren Curley

Year: 5th year
Department: Cognitive Science
Lab: Center for Human Development, Center for Multimodal Imaging and Genomics
Research interests: Behavioral neuroscience, cognitive development, longitudinal studies
Ask me about
Graduate school, applications, resumes and cover letters, essays, courses, career choices
Something about me: 
I'm from Michigan, I'm an avid racer (5k, 10k, half marathon, trail races), and I have a German Shepherd mix named Fin

Javier How

Year: 2nd year
Department: Neurosciences
Lab: Saket Navlakha at Salk
Research interests: Synaptic states in neural networks (real and computational)
Ask me about:
Summer research programs, grad school applications, how to find research opportunities at your home institution
Something about me:
From Miami, yet still can't swim!

Ryan Golden

Year: 1st year
Department: Neurosciences
Current Lab: Maksim Bazhenov
Research Interests: Computation and Theory.  How neuromodulation affects neuroplasticity (Spike-Timing-Dependent Plasticity), specifically in the context of reinforcement learning.  How network architecture/structure constrain information capacity, processing, and network dynamics.
Ask me about:Grad apps, summer research opportunities (e.g, REUs)
General networking skills (e.g. how to get connected with a professor/have them notice you. They are the ones that eventually need to write your letters of rec, and know the people in charge of filling intern/research positions).Work-life balance (i.e. how to do well in classes, participate in research, hold relevant extracurricular leadership positions, maintain a fulfilling social life, all while sleeping at least 7 hours a night).How to tailor your undergrad coursework to scientific interests.Using undergrad to expand your scientific breadth of knowledge.
Something about me: I grew up in the Chicago suburbs, and went to a (very) small liberal arts university in Iowa initially intending to become a high school math & physics teacher.  I used to swim and play water polo competitively, and currently enjoy things like rock climbing, hiking, and camping.  Philosophy (especially it's relation to math and neuroscience) is a major interest of mine.

Pei-Ann Lin

Year: 4th year
Department: Neurosciences
Lab: Isaacson
Research interests: Sensory experience dependent changes in brain circuitry (primary research interest) and mechanisms of learning & memory as they relate to education and teaching (peripheral interest that I'm not actively studying)
Ask me about:
Grad apps, industry careers, fellowship apps (I can offer advice for the NSF GRFP in particular), summer research programs
Something about me:
In the 1980s, my parents immigrated from Taiwan to Alabama, where I was born and raised.  I spent a few years in Boston before I moved to San Diego, and part of me hopes to never see a real winter ever again. If I wasn't passionate about neuroscience, I would be spending my days trying to convince someone rich to hire me as a personal chef.

Jeff Dahlen

Year: 6th year graduate student
Current Lab: Takaki Komiyama
Research Interests: Motor systems, sensory systems, public health
Ask me about: summer research programs, NSF-GRFP, Society for Neuroscience Research Scholars Program, graduate school applications, medical school applications
Something about me: I grew up in Southern California. I like to surf, swim, bike and run. A fun fact about me is that I used to compete as a professional triathlete. Another fun fact about me is that I hope to continue on to medical school once I finish my PhD.

Alex Goetz

Year: Sixth year PhD student, entered 2011
Department: Neurosciences
Current Lab: Miles Wilkinson
Research Interests: Molecular neuroscience. Right now I study RNA decay mechanisms and cellular stress. I have also studied circadian rhythms, Wnt signaling, and place cells in previous labs at UCSD.
Ask me about: Graduate applications, going to grad school right after undergrad, picking a lab (and switching in the middle of graduate school if things don't work out), summer research programs
Something about me: I grew up in Orange county, and went to UCSD for undergrad, and also for graduate school. I studied abroad in Rome for my classical studies and sociology minors. I like to bake cookies, go hiking around San Diego, and I'm SCUBA certified. I'm also getting married in March!

Eulanca Liu

Year: 3rd year graduate student, 5th year MD/PhD
Department: Neuroscience, Medical Scientist Training Program
Current Lab: Richard Buxton
Research Interests: physiological basis of the fMRI BOLD signal; more generally: functional neuroimaging, clinical applications of fMRI, radiation oncology
Ask me about: medical school application process, MSTP SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship) program, gaining research experience, balancing clinical and research pursuits, self-care
Something about me:

Marc Marino

Year: 3rd 
Department: Neurosciences
Current Lab: Malinow
Research Interests: Synaptic Plasticity, Alzheimer's Disease, Receptor Trafficking, Synaptic Signaling 
Ask me about: grad apps/GRE/interviews, fellowship apps, travel award apps, choosing a lab, coursework
Something about me: From San Diego, fixing stuff/camping/hiking/swimming. I was a history major before switching to biology. 

Amy Taylor

Year: 1st year graduate student, 3rd year MD/Ph.D.
Department: Neuroscience, Medical Scientist Training Program
Current Lab: Greg Light
Research Interests:
Neuropsychiatric diseases, specifically schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
Ask me about:
Clinical research, personal statements, interviews, community service opportunities, how to balance life and school demands, financial aid, navigating UCSD undergrad, TA opportunities, MSTP questions, things to do in San Diego!
Something about me:
I am San Diego born and raised. I began college as a non-traditional student at 21 and worked full time throughout college as a single mother to my beautiful daughter. I obtained my BS in Physiology and Neuroscience from UCSD in 2012 and an MS from UCSD in Biology in 2014. I began at the school of medicine in Fall 2014 and have since been involved in SOM mentors, student-run free clinic management, and was awarded the Bud Whipple Scholarship in 2015. On nights and weekends, I spend my time with my daughter at the softball fields or in violin lessons.

Raul Herrera
Year: 5th
Department: Physics
Current Lab: George Fuller, Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences
Research Interests: Computational Quantum Physics, Mathematical Physics
Ask me about: grad apps, being a transfer student, being a theorist

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