Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Next Skype Session: Mollie Woodworth - Neuroscientist (and Cheerleader)

We'll be conducting our next Skype session on Monday, October 25th with Mollie Woodworth, a graduate student in neuroscience who is currently working on her Ph.D. at Harvard. Please read through/watch all of the following, and then at the bottom of the post click the link to submit your question(s) for the Skype session.

Here is some biographical information Mollie provided:
I grew up in Columbus, Ohio, and discovered a love of science mostly through reading popular science books from the Columbus Public Library. I was good at math in high school, but not very confident in my ability, so I was in the regular math track freshman and sophomore years before switching to Honors Precalculus and Calculus. (So I would have been in your class when I was in high school!) By the time I was a senior, I knew I wanted to study biology and the brain, although I didn't know much about the day-to-day life of a scientist.

I double-majored in biology and neuroscience as an undergraduate at MIT, where I had a blast working in the laboratory of a famous professor and decided I really did want to do science for the rest of my life. I came to Harvard (Mollie's lab) to earn my Ph.D., and I'm currently a fifth-year Ph.D. candidate (which means that I've completed all of my classes and exams, and am just doing research full-time). For my Ph.D. thesis, I'm studying the way different neurons (brain cells) develop in the cerebral cortex, which is the wrinkly part of the brain that does a lot of important stuff, like thinking, remembering things, and doing math. The cortex has specialized neurons called corticospinal motor neurons that send signals down to your spinal cord and make you move your arms and legs, and those are the particular neurons I'm studying.

I have to admit that I've only been in Colorado once, when I had a layover at the Denver airport, but I'd love to come back! My husband is a skier, and you guys have much better mountains than we do out east.
Here is some background information you should read/watch before submitting your questions for Ms. Woodworth.
  1. Watch the four short videos (Only I Knew, The Blood Will Tell, 30 Second Science, and 10 Questions for Mollie) at the top right of this page.

  2. Read through the various information and blog posts on that same page. Explore all the blog posts that look interesting to you, but I'd like you to make sure you read this one in its entirety.

  3. Read though the questions - and some answers from Mollie - on this page.
You need to submit at least one thoughtful question via this online form no later than 7 am on Monday, October 18th (and preferably by Friday morning, October 15th).

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