My curiosity about how people think and behave evolved into a desire to study the brain, which I explored as an undergraduate at Vassar College. Fascinated by the prospect of beginning to understand the neural basis of psychiatric disorders, I explored the field after graduation in the lab of Elizabeth Phelps at New York University. I obtained a compelling sense of how animal studies can be translated into human neuroscience to uncover the roots of mental illness, and became inspired to pursue a career as a psychiatrist and researcher. I have completed a substantial portion of my MD degree at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University, which I will finish after Cambridge, before pursuing specialization in psychiatry. During my PhD I will integrate pharmacological and neuroimaging methods to examine the influence of the neurochemical serotonin on emotional and behavioral flexibility. Serotonergic drugs are among the most common medications I will prescribe yet the precise role of serotonin in mental illness and its remediation is not completely understood. Complementing my MD training with PhD training at Cambridge will optimize my ability to increase communication between neuroscientists and psychiatrists. The Gates Cambridge Scholarship will make me a more impactful physician – helping patients beyond those who enter my office – by advancing our understanding of mental illness, and working to counter a formidable disease burden costly to individual sufferers and to society.
Cooper Medical School of Rowan University