Leaving Helsinki for San Francisco

Hello! My name is Maia Moog and I am a second-year master’s student in the neuroscience program at the University of Helsinki. As outlined in the meet-the-trainees section of this blog, I will be joining the Baraban epilepsy research lab at the University of California, San Francisco, in early September 2019 to start work on my thesis project. 

Epilepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that is characterized by unprovoked seizure activity in the brain. One of the most debilitating genetic forms of epilepsy is Dravet Syndrome, which causes recurrent seizures in children and is due to a mutation in SCN1A, a voltage gated sodium channel gene. The Baraban laboratory uses zebrafish models for several forms of human genetic epilepsy, in an effort to eventually create an avenue for personalized treatment. I will be involved in screening the zebrafish by conducting forebrain EEG field recordings, and later on, post-op genotyping.

A view of the sunset district in San Francisco (a 20-minute walk from the lab)!

I have developed an appreciation for cell membrane physics and electrophysiology through my coursework with Juha Voipio, neuroscience professor and program director at the University of Helsinki. My interest in epilepsy is a new one, bolstered by hearing the occasional guest lecturer at the university, and through recent exposure to the techniques and methods used in epilepsy research. While keeping the expectation of a learning curve in mind, I will be using this platform over the next six months to report on the progression of my project and other relevant experiences in San Francisco. If you have any questions about my project or any of my blog posts, feel free to send me an email at maia.moog@helsinki.fi.


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