Simin Bahrami

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
I do research in the Institute for Brain Aging and Dementia. The head of the Institute is Dr. Carl Cotman, but I work directly for Dr. Christian Pike. My research has been focused on Alzheimer's Disease and Frontotemporal Dementia.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

During my senior year in high school I took "Brain and Behavior" here at UCI, taught by Dr. Weinberger. Ever since then I knew that I was interested in neuroscience. So the next year, when I was a Freshman at UCI, I checked out the faculty research profiles on the web and emailed a few of them. I went in for an interview and then worked on a voluntary basis at the Cotman lab. The next year, I signed up for Bio 199 to get units.

3. How has research enhanced you education?

Because I began so early, research has been an integral part of my education here. Often times, I learned about things that my friends did not encounter until a year later in classes. The close interaction with Dr. Pike, who has been an incredible teacher and mentor to me, has also provided a lot of needed guidance during my undergraduate years. Working closely with faculty just adds a whole new dimension to learning, especially at such a large university. The hands on experience that research has provided makes the material in Bio. books come alive and become a lot more memorable.

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

I think my favorite part of my research experience has to do with learning to think critically, realistically, and logically. Dr. Pike always made me come up with the next step in our projects on my own so that I would really understand why we are doing each and every experiment. While I was learning general facts in my Bio classes, I was learning how they apply to real life because of my work in the lab. The thinking process that my research experience has taught me will go beyond the lab and help me in every aspect of life. I really have Dr. Pike to thank for that!

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

After UCI, I hope to attend Medical School. As a physician I will need to know how to think analytically and how to approach difficult situations. Things like that cannot be learned out of books. That is why research is such a valuable part of my undergraduate years. The problem solving skills I have developed will undoubtedly help me as a physician.

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

My advice to other students about research is to pick a lab that really interests them, to start early, and then to stick to it for a couple of years (that's when you really notice what you have gained from the experience!).

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '99 Gina Rappleye
Nov. '99 Maria Rendon
Oct. '99 Scott Avecilla
Sep. '99 Peter Krutzik
Aug. '99 Raj Gopalakrishnan
Jul. '99 Christina Rahn
Jun. '99 Catharine Larsen
May '99 Han Kang
Apr. '99 Bonnie Pau
Mar. '99 Sharla Meeks
Feb. '99 Simin Bahrami
Jan. '99 Catherine Le
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