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Interview with Laura Murillo Espitia (Humans of Neuroscience)

"Every different way that people perceive the world is the result [of] personal experiences translated in how the connections were made and how [they] are continuously changing."

Laura Murillo Espitia is an undergraduate biology student at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana (Pontifical Xavierian University) in Bogotá, Colombia.

What is your dream career?

“My dream career would be neurobiology, and then a Ph.D. in neuroscience because at my university, biology is still very general, but everything about the brain is so specialized and complex. So, I think that I need better theoretical bases.”

How did you discover your interest in the brain, and when was that?

“I remember that many years ago, I downloaded an app called Lumosity, which offers some tests to train your memory, problem solving, attention, etc. One day, I received an email from this app about a study in London that measured the changes in the size of taxi drivers’ hippocampi after they took an exam called “The Knowledge”. The exam basically determined if they knew about the names and connections of all the [London] streets in order to cope with the tourism demand. There I read for the first time the word “neuroscientist”, and I knew that day that I wanted to be a neuroscientist.”

How are you currently involved in neuroscience and/or psychology?

“Right now I am doing my internship in a neurobiochemistry laboratory, working with plant extracts and determining if they have some protective effects on neurons and astrocytes, all of this in the context of chemobrain.”

Have you experienced any troubles/obstacles in your journey so far?

“Yes. In my country Colombia, it is difficult to study science because for the government, it [is] not a priority to invest in science and technology. For this reason, many times the different laboratories [don’t] have all the resources that they need, so we have to be very creative to solve these kinds of situations.”

How does neuroscience and/or psychology impact your everyday life?

“Neuroscience is everywhere; our brains are always working. If we are awake, we are constantly receiving and responding to external cues, learning and creating memories that may help us to survive. If we are sleeping, our brain is consolidating memories and cleaning the connections that we are not using. It has been reported that sleep deprivation is related to multiple diseases.”

Please note that this interview was conducted in 2019. We have recently reformatted and made minor clarity edits to publish on the Simply Neuroscience Blog!

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