Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

I currently perform research at the UCI Medical Center in the department of Neurology under the guidance of Dr. Arthur C. Grant. I pursue different experiments in sensory perception among epilepsy patients and skilled pianists. Of the three projects that I have worked on, the main study that I will be completing for my honors thesis is entitled “The Effects of Temporal Lobectomy on Tactile and Auditory Perception in People with Medically Refractory Temporal Lobe Epilepsy” (June 2000-Present).

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I have been conducting research since the spring quarter of my freshman year in 2001. I found my particular research laboratory through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) Web site which has a complete listing of opportunities to conduct research with faculty on-campus or off-campus at other universities, national labs, and industry. I emailed Dr. Grant, interviewed with him, and a few weeks later began my training in the Neurodiagnostic laboratory.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

The majority of my research coincided with what I was learning in many of my neurobiology classes. Because I was performing clinical research, I would leave the classroom with the basic knowledge of the brain, and be able to apply that knowledge to my work at the hospital. Both my class work and my research work connected and also depended on one another. That connection led to an overall greater development of my education and understanding of my research.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

My favorite experience with research was being able to directly interact with patients and still perform an investigative experiment. I kept thinking I was getting the best of both worlds, medicine and research. I loved being able to follow my research mentor around the hospital, talk to the patients, and then go back to the office and determine how their lobectomies had affected their tactile and auditory perception. I couldn’t think of a better application of scientific knowledge.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I have been accepted into medical school and hope to become a pediatric specialist. The area of specialty is yet to be determined, however. My research, in particular, helped prepare me for that goal, because I was directly in contact with the subjects of my research. As a result of that contact, not only did I grow to love research, but I also began to consider medicine as a future career.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

I would highly encourage any student to delve into research early on in their UCI undergraduate education. The university is literally bursting with projects and cutting edge experiments that make it a premiere research institution. Scientists, philosophers, and professors are eager to share their knowledge with their students and help them develop their critical thinking skills for their future occupations. You don’t have to know the area of research you want to enter right away. Take some time and really explore what you like and what you are good at. Most importantly, definitely use UROP as your means of acquiring and enhancing that research. It is a wonderful program that is truly one of a kind.

Past Researchers of the Month
Dec. '04 Martin Vega
Nov. '04 Peter Kuo
Oct. '04 Michelle Plyer
Sep. '04 Camille Campion
Aug. '04 Ahmed Ibrahim
Jul. '04 Gregoria Barazandeh
Jun. '04 Matthew Korn
May '04 Jolene Minakary
Apr. '04 Zhanna Kovaleva
Mar. '04 Dorothy Chang
Feb. '04 Elizabeth Yanni
Jan. '04 Brad Cohn
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