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Elizabeth Peek

Hi, I'm Elizabeth

I am a part of AEP's Faculty Mentor Program in Sixth College, majoring in Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience and minoring in Bioethics.

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UC San Diego AEP undergrad scholar

Area of Research

 I'm researching the role sleep plays in social cognition and wellbeing for people with psychotic disorders in the Cognitive Dynamics Lab.

Why did you decide to get involved in undergraduate research?

I was curious about different psychological diseases and wanted to find a way to help develop a greater body of knowledge to satisfy my own interest in understanding them and hopefully, one day, effectively treating them.

How did you get your start?

My first research experience was at Dr. Gage's Lab at the Salk Institute right after I graduated high school, and while I realized that I wasn't interested in genetics, I really enjoyed the research process and the opportunity to help develop a greater body of knowledge.  

How have you been affected by COVID?

Academically, it has been an adjustment working from home, and not being able to access all the resources I'm used to using. Because we research psychological disorders, my lab normally works with participants in-person, and it has been an adjustment process as we shift to working in a safe, effective, remote way.

How are you being innovative in order to continue to continue doing research?

 I am leaning heavily into what I've learned about the brain and motivation and I'm using techniques that help my brain stay focused on research. For example, in the hippocampus, there are neurons called place cells. In general, place cells help you create a cognitive understanding of where you are and help you create a reference of it, and all those cells working together, help create a cognitive map. So for me, I've mapped my room to be a place of relaxation and rest, so I've been careful to not take my lab work or classwork to my room. Instead, I do a lot of my lab work in the living room.

What is keeping you hopeful right now?

 Long walks and reminders that someday, things will improve and I will be able to go outside with my friends and family. Also, remembering that someday, I will be able to go back to my desk at the lab, where I keep some of my favorite snacks helps keep me hopeful.

What are your future plans?

I'm planning on continuing to work for my lab this summer and next year and join at least one more lab. I will hopefully graduate June 2021 and then get a research position, before applying to graduate school.

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