Michelle Corkrum '12

Michelle is currently enrolled in the MD/PhD Medical Scientist Training program at the University of Minnesota.

I love neuroscience. This passion was sparked during a seminar I took my senior year in high school. The class was taught by a neurosurgeon and a psychologist. I was amazed by the connection made between the mechanical operations of the brain and the social influences that affect brain function and human behavior. This seminar reminded me of the age old debate of nature vs. nurture, the only difference was that the professors weren’t having a debate and showed us how social and biological aspects affect neurological control and human behavior.

My passion for neuroscience intensified during my ten-week research experience during the summer of 2009 in LSSURP (Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Program) at the University of Minnesota. I worked with Professor Meisel and the graduate students in his lab to design and implement an independent research project. Ultimately, I analyzed the effects of repeated sexual experiences on the neural plasticity of female Syrian hamsters. I loved this opportunity because Professor Meisel exposed me to the joys of scientific research. He told me that I was only limited by my own imagination, and taught me how to formulate questions and design experiments that allowed me to better understand phenomena that were of interest to me and the general public.

At Wellesley, I performed research in an evolutionary genetics lab in the fall of 2009 and I started working in the Tetel lab in the spring of 2010. I have also started an independent study on the neurological basis of race perception.