Mary Gates Research Scholar, Autumn 2021
Research Project: Incorporating Visually Aided Morpho-Phenotyping Image Recognition into Robust Microglial Shape Analysis
Project Description: Microglia—the brain’s immune cells—change shape upon external stimuli from either environmental cues or direct injury. Quantifying changes in microglial shape is essential for understanding disease, injury, and their potential as therapeutic targets. I optimize and incorporate Visually Aided Morpho-Phenotyping Image Recognition (VAMPIRE), a machine-learning-based method that classifies shapes of microglia, into our microglia shape analysis pipeline. I aim to demonstrate the robustness and validity of VAMPIRE in the pipeline and when applied to different microglia imaging datasets.
What have you learned throughout your research project?
Besides technical skills for conducting research, I also gained important communication skills. The process of drafting applications and abstracts taught me how to articulate my project effectively and efficiently. The interaction with my mentors and collaborators has strengthened my interpersonal communication skills and the collaborative spirit of science.
What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?
I encourage applicants to invest time in research that they are excited about and genuinely care about. Passion as the driving force of research can lead you a long way through the highs and lows of the research process.