Cohort - Class of 2024
My name is Kaihan Danesh and I am a third year Neuroscience major with a minor in Brain and Behavioral Health. In the future, I hope to pursue psychiatry and work to eliminate the emphasis on addictive and dulling medications in this field. Currently, I work in Dr. Cooper’s Cannabis Research Lab to research the pain relieving effects of cannabis which will hopefully be used alone or alongside current opioid-based pain relief treatments to reduce the risk of addiction
Christina Feng is a Psychology BA major and is interested in studying the neural circuits involved in decision-making and how these circuits are disrupted by psychiatric disorders. She is interested in the Brain & Behavioral Health minor due to its emphasis on clinical and practical applications of neuroscientific and psychological research. She believes that bench-to-bedside applications of research are crucial to increase the accessibility of healthcare and science, and believes that the Brain & Behavioral Health minor provides a strong foundation in these areas.
Growing up exposed to the realities of mental illness, I’ve always been naturally drawn to learning about how they are treated and the interdisciplinary nature of brain and behavioral health. I’m fascinated by how evidence-based approaches, such as pharmacological interventions, neuromodulation, and psychotherapy, are applied to improve brain and behavioral health. I aspire to attend medical school and possibly specialize in psychiatry, so that I can use what I learn to work with patients, immerse myself in public advocacy, and contribute to research to improve the lives of others.
Ashley Kim is a third year Psychobiology major with a passion for neurodevelopmental disorders and neurotechnology. She is specifically interested in various treatment and intervention services for developmental disorders to enhance their lifestyles. She aspires to work in psychiatry or pediatric neurology. Ashley is also a research assistant for the Brain Connectivity and Cognition Lab (BCCL) at the Semel Institute, where she is currently investigating cognitive flexibility in children with autism.
Lois Kim is a third year Psychology Major interested in studying the relationship between the brain and body connection, and its effects on the members of the neurodivergent community. . Her inspiration for joining the minor and pursuing a career in the health industry began with her determination to create a world where her autistic brother could be treated fairly like other neurotypical kids. She is currently a part of the Education team in the Autism Advocacy club, where they educate the public about autism awareness, and has experience working with several neurodivergent adults in local community programs. She plans on striving for ways to serve families and members of the neurodivergent community feel understood, supported, and respected in the healthcare industry, and is currently deciding between occupational therapy or pediatrics as potential career choices.
May Laila Matthews
Major: Human Biology and Society B.S.
Career Interests & Goals:
Maya Laila Matthews is a Human Biology and Society major from Los Angeles, CA. When Maya Laila was 11 years old, she made it her mission to cure Alzheimer’s Disease and she has been working towards that goal ever since.
She is the Co-Chair of Philanthropy and Outreach for the Institute of Neuro Innovation at UCLA (INI), the current President and Director of Finance for UCLA’s Activism Through Policy (ATP), a mentor under the Academic Supports Program (ASP), and the Alumni Coordinator and Web and Social Media Specialist forNewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change non-profit. Maya Laila is also an undergraduate researcher for Dr. Tamra Loeb at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and for Dr. David Eisenber’s Lab evaluating Alzheimer’s. She also acts as a resident assistant. Maya Laila’s passions include Alzheimer’s research and patient care, social justice and homelessness policy, gymnastics, and, of course, brain and behavioral health. An LA native, Maya Laila is enthusiastic about bettering the communities of Los Angeles and pursuing a career in medicine and policy.
Through personal experiences caring for my grandparents in Japan and working at nursing homes in my community, I have been inspired to pursue a career focused on treating neurodegenerative diseases and educating people of all ages about the importance of maintaining brain health through a lens of intersectionality. In terms of research, I am particularly drawn to investigating the bidirectional relationship between the circadian rhythm and the pathology of Alzheimer’s disease such that intervening in sleep and circadian function could potentially improve cognitive function and memory in patients. Additionally, I feel that there is a significant lack of research on neurological healthcare disparities like race and education; the courses I have taken through this minor have provided me with valuable insight into integrating their impact into clinical practice for a more holistic approach to patient care.
The perspective and knowledge of artists is often left out of scientific conversations. I truly believe in the power of art to combat mental illness and heal trauma. In the future I hope to contribute to research that expands our understanding of the links between the arts and our physical and mental well-being, and highlight the importance of the arts in our lives.
Faith is a psychobiology major and an aspiring behavioral neuroscientist. She is interested in
improving brain and behavioral health from a neuroscientific perspective and spends a lot of her
time in a research lab studying the neural basis of decision-making. In addition to neuroscience,
Faith enjoys traveling, politics, baking, and going to rock and country concerts.
Originally from San Francisco, CA, I’m a 3rd year transfer student majoring in Psychology. Some of my hobbies are hiking, reading, movies, and going to the dog park with my dog. I am interested in exploring brain and behavioral health to understand why I struggled with depression and anxiety for the majority of my life. I hope to implement the different skills and interventions that I learn about from my peers and research literature.