Julie Uchitel – PhD student
What did you do before coming to Cambridge?
Just prior to coming to Cambridge, I graduated from Duke University in Durham, NC, where I studied Neuroscience and French. During my time as an undergraduate, I performed research in pediatrics for four years at Duke Children’s Hospital and for two summers at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). My junior year (3rd year) of undergrad, I was considering whether or not I wanted to go directly into medical school following graduation, or whether I wanted to take a year or two to work more in research (these are called gap years in the US). I studied abroad in France during undergrad, which I absolutely loved, so I was considering going back to France or a nearby country for my gap year. While looking for potential research opportunities, I came across my current supervisor, Dr Topun Austin, who conducts research in neonatal functional brain imaging— which is exactly what I studied during my first summer at CHOP. I reached out to him and we discussed potential projects and funding opportunities. I applied for the Marshall scholarship, which funds 40 Americans every year to complete two years of study at any university in the UK (http://www.marshallscholarship.org), and by some miracle, I received it. Now I’m here and loving every minute of it.
Why did you choose Cambridge?
I chose Cambridge primarily because of my supervisor, Dr. Topun Austin, and the type of research that the neolab does (https://neolabresearch.com). My decision was really driven by the type of research that I’m interested in, but I also really appreciated all the support that Cambridge offers graduate students.
What is your PhD on?
My PhD is on functional brain imaging in neonates, in which I explore resting state networks functional connectivity in newborns during sleep states using diffuse optical tomography. I’m at Rosie Hospital for the most part, where we do our studies on babies in the Evelyn Perinatal Imaging Center.
What are your plans after you leave Cambridge?
After Cambridge, I plan to return to the US and attend medical school. Ultimately, I want to pursue a career as a clinician-researcher, particularly in paediatric neurology.