Meet the Scientist

Heidi Headshot.jpg

PhD Candidate in Neuroscience at the University of Utah

What scientific field do you work in?



"I'd always tell people I was going to be Bill Nye..."

Bill Nye.png

Could you briefly explain what your job involves?


Our brain produces electrical signals to communicate information, but when people develop Parkinson’s disease, these signalling patterns change. The goal of my research is to understand how these signals change with disease progression and how these changes could relate to changes in motor behaviour.

Do you have any secret talents?


I like to create podcasts to help me de-stress. It also gives me a super fun creative outlet! I’ve really been enjoying it & am hoping to pursue it full time when I graduate. I even convinced my university to fund my classmates and me to start a science podcast (so maybe this isn’t so secret, hah)! It’s called Cinema Science Podcast. You can check out our website:!

When did you decide you wanted to work as a scientist?


When I was a very young child watching Bill Nye the Science Guy. I’d always tell people that I was going to be Bill Nye when I grow up!

Have you taken part in any research? If yes, what was your most exciting project?


Lots of research! As an undergraduate, I worked in an archaeology lab, dating artefacts. I also worked in a biochemistry lab, studying suspended animation (slowing down our biological clocks). After college, I worked in a lab researching traumatic brain injury & sleep. Now, I am looking at Parkinson’s Disease.


What's your favourite food?


Kimchi Jjigae! *drool*

What educational pathway did you take to get to where you are now?


I originally majored in Anthropology while in college. I always thought I would be a medical doctor or an archaeologist. But then I started working in a few different labs while in college. I fell in love with designing experiments. After I graduated, I worked in a neuroscience lab as a lab technician and manager for 3 years. This solidified my decision to apply to grad school!

"I like to create podcasts to help me de-stress."


What's your favourite movie quote?


"Do not be so quick to deal out death and judgement. Even the very wise do not see all ends."


What was the best thing about your job?


Being able to apply my creativity towards designing experiments!

What was the worst thing about your job?


The long hours. Your schedule is dictated by your animals, and sometimes that means coming in on weekends & holidays!

"Your schedule is dictated by your animals..."

Drawing of Rabbit

If you could take one thing with you to an island, what would it be and why?


A cruise ship! Is that cheating? I hope the entire crew is included, hah!

Do you have any advice for young people who are interested in your career path?


Join a lab! Many labs offer positions for high school students. Contact a professor or graduate student; most of us are pretty friendly!

Anything else you'd like to add?


Please feel free to contact me with questions or if you just want to say hi! Twitter: @pandabumhah, Instagram: @pandabumhaha

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