Hello everyone! My name is Sree Gogineni and I am currently a junior majoring in neuroscience with minors in medical anthropology and chemistry. I am from Edison, New Jersey and have been interested in pursuing a career in the medical field since I entered UNC. During my time here, I have been a research assistant at Carolina’s Affective Science Lab, which is a social psychology and neuroscience lab that focuses on the interactions between the body and the brain. Using physiology, neuroscience, imaging techniques, and more, we analyze how people experience emotion in connection with their bodies. My involvement in psychology and neuroscience research has honed my interests in the field, which is what brought me to apply to the Karen M. Gil Internship. I realized I was particularly interested in the functions of the human brain and how it affects the lives of individuals, both healthy and those prone to psychiatric illnesses.
I was honored to be accepted into this year’s spring 2022 cohort. Luckily, I have had the amazing opportunity to intern at the Neurocognitive and Imaging Research Lab (NIRL) at UNC School of Medicine’s psychiatric department. Under the mentorship of Dr. Belger, the director of NIRL and also the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, I was able to gain valuable research experience that coincided with my interests. At NIRL, our research focuses on using brain imaging techniques, specifically EEGs, to explore adolescents at risk for psychosis and other mental disorders, such as schizophrenia. Examining the functional anatomy of attention and information selection in a healthy human brain and how these neural circuits breakdown in schizophrenia and other neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders is crucial to the field of developmental and cognitive neuroscience.
My responsibilities at the lab included working on their current research project which was called Psychosis-Risk Outcomes Network (ProNET). For this research project, I had to spend time understanding the scholarly language through weekly journal readings and presentations. The majority of my time in the lab was spent preparing for an EEG certification, which consisted of practicing how to properly place the EEG cap on the participants head, properly gel the electrodes, and understanding the basics of the collected data. I also had the opportunity to connect with my lab members, which was an intimate but very impressive group of individuals of all education levels. Throughout my time at NIRL, I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience under the mentorship of Dr. Belger and have learned valuable life lessons along the way. Most notably, I have found connections that will continue to last me throughout my professional journey. Thus, this has been a crucial experience for my future in the research field. As I explore my path in the medical field ahead of me, my time at NIRL has opened doors for a summer job and continued involvement in research. I could not have asked for a better experience through the Karen M. Gil Internship and will always value my time and memories as an intern!