August 21, 2020

High-School Junior Student Spotlight - Emma CHEN

Emma was born and grew up in China. She is currently a rising high school junior student at Phillips Exeter Academy. She is interested in the fields of neuroscience and biomedical engineering. Here at CenBRAIN, she was involved with researching how EEG-fNIRS technology can be used for stroke prediction.


Where do you do your research and what is this?

I work with Dr. Yun-Hsuan Chen to investigate correlations between changes in oxygenation status of hemoglobin (co-oximetry) in the brain and brain activity changes captured via a multimodal EEG-fNIRS platform. Our current project sets the foundation for a longer-term project to use EEG-fNIRS for stroke prediction by giving us key data on how the hybrid data relates to co-oximetric parameters. Most days, I could be found conducting EEG-fNIRS experiments on volunteer subjects, preprocessing data or helping with the statistical analysis of data in lab 102.

Can you tell me a little bit about why you chose to do Biomedical Engineering?

I love Biomedical Engineering because it applies a problem-solving approach and skills to tackle problems standing in the way of human health and wellbeing. I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career that improved people’s lives. Meanwhile I’ve come to realize that I enjoyed logically designing solutions to try to fix problems. Biomedical engineering has both.

Do you have any previous experience, besides working in the CenBRAIN Lab, with biomedical engineering?

I interned previously at the Yang's lab in the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai, a lab focused on gene editing. There, I created a chimeric mouse disease model of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) by using CRISPR to knock-in a human DMD mutation into mouse DNA. Working on this project gave me experience in not only biological lab techniques, but also in designing and carrying out a project.

How has this CenBRAIN experience helped you in your understanding of Neurotechnology?

CenBRAIN allowed me to see how research happens and how researchers/engineers operate. For instance, I learned that a lot of detail-level knowledge is picked up along the way in a project. There is a sea of information out there and you cannot possibly know everything you need. That’s why the ability to learn and the ability to find information is much more important than having information. Along the same lines, I learned how important and powerful collaboration is. If you need a piece of software, know that there will always be someone in CenBRAIN that does. What I took away is to learn from everyone around me and to be a resource to others when I can.