While an undergraduate at Lee University, I was introduced to anthropology as a powerful tool of insight and understanding. During my M.Sc. in Social Anthropology at the University College London, I conducted ethnographic fieldwork among Pentecostal Christians in Appalachia who practice a century-old tradition of handling venomous snakes in the context of worship. During my research, a death in the serpent-handling community captured public interest leading to the community’s engagement with journalists, often framing the community as different and unusual. Over the past four years, teaching anthropology at Western Wyoming Community College has only reinforced my belief that understanding human differences and similarities is invaluable in breaking down barriers of fear and prejudice. Having worked in refugee and migrant communities in India, Egypt and Tennessee, I have seen how fear of differences can ostracize the imaginary ‘other.’ During my Ph.D. in Social Anthropology at Cambridge, my research will focus on the ethnographic study of time and the value of hope among asylum seekers waiting on asylum procedures in the Aegean. It is by focusing on the values of hope and the ideal good life that I expect some insight can be gained which situates refugees not as political nor as suffering strangers, but as morally evaluative humans distinctly and deeply informed by their unique cultural experiences.
University College London
For most of us, reaching for an object, such as an apple or a pen, is something done seamlessly without requiring much thought. However, carrying out a voluntary movement requires a stream of intricate computations in the brain for planning, initiating, and executing even a simple action. Many neurological and psychiatric disorders – and also healthy ageing – can all influence these computations. My research interests lie in understanding these changes that occur across the lifespan and in cases of disease. I use behavioural tasks that tap into principles from computational neuroscience: for example the integration of different sources of information for performing an action. I combine these tasks with brain imaging methods, such as functional magnetic resonance imaging, which allows me to examine the activity and connectivity of brain networks. My ongoing research following my PhD at Cambridge looks at the effect of age on the brain's motor system. Ageing is typically associated with increased variability in performance across individuals. My research endeavour, therefore, is to find the markers that not only predict healthy ageing, but also those that identify the brain changes that put people at risk to their well-being. Alongside research, I work in clinical psychiatry at Cambridge and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust.
Michael J. Young is an M.D. candidate at Harvard Medical School and a Fellow in the Department of Philosophy at Harvard University. His current research examines the ethical dimensions and philosophical framework underlying standards of care in medicine and public health. Michael is also a co-investigator in the Central Nervous System Metastasis Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in collaboration with the Broad Institute, studying genomic drivers of brain tumors. Michael completed an M.Phil in philosophy from the University of Cambridge (Trinity College) as a Gates Cambridge Scholar, where he focused on philosophical issues relating to medicine and the mind. His work has appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, AJOB Neuroscience, Critical Care Medicine, Nature Immunology, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, BMC Psychiatry, and Medicine, Healthcare and Philosophy.
Nutrition during pregnancy is perhaps the most influential non-genetic factor for fetal development and lifelong health thereafter. Global rates of obesity are increasing at an alarming rate and with that, an increase in obesity during pregnancy. Children of obese mothers have an increased lifetime risk of developing cardiometabolic problems and psychiatric disorders. My PhD work will explore how maternal obesity affects immune activity to disrupt nutrient partitioning capabilities in the placenta. Through this, I hope to elucidate the mechanisms by which maternal obesity impacts fetal growth and offspring metabolism in order to develop targeted interventions for affected children. Developmental programing, reproductive health, and diet during pregnancy as a modifiable risk factor are internationally relevant science communications and public health issues. Knowledge must move from the laboratory into policy in order to reach health services. What’s more, relevant audiences have to understand and correctly apply this information. For these reasons, I am an active proponent to improving scientific literacy and access to education and dedicate my community development initiatives to creating such educational resources.
University of Toronto Reproductive Physiology 2020
University of Western Ontario Medical Sciences 2018