We interview Sorcha O’Connor, a research fellow at the Elena Pessino Gomez del Campo Neuroscience Laboratory

Sorcha O’Connor, began her internship at the Elena Pessino Gomez del Campo Neuroscience Laboratory (NEPGC Laboratory) on October 4, 2019 and will end on 30 June 2020. Currently studying Neuroscience at The University of Manchester; in Sorcha’s words: «I have always been passionate about mental health and the orchestrated way in which the brain works to produce what each of us considers “reality”.

How did you learn about the Elena Pessino Gómez del Campo Neuroscience Laboratory (hereinafter NEPGC Laboratory)?

My degree requires that I spend a year of internships in a laboratory doing a research project, so I started looking for interesting laboratories that could offer me that opportunity a year ago. I was fortunate to find the NEPGC Laboratory website online and it immediately caught my attention as an advanced and dynamic workplace.

Why did you decide to do your internship at the NEPGC Laboratory?

Since I started studying at the university, I knew that I wanted to spend my internship year in Spain, because another of my main passions is the Spanish language. Although I was studying a varied range of aspects of Neuroscience last year, I decided that I would like to find an opportunity to investigate mental health. I find it fascinating to explore a facet of biology so relevant to the society around us.

Tell us briefly what projects you have participated in the NEPGC Laboratory.

I still have time to work with the Laboratory team but now I am focusing on developing my practical skills so that I can be autonomous in the Laboratory as soon as possible. I really want to start my own project, which will be based on Schizophrenia; Not only does mental illness fascinate me, but I also find it increasingly essential that we discover more effective ways to treat the most debilitating symptoms.

What would you highlight from your experience?

So far, my experience working with the NEPGC Laboratory team has been great. Dr. Raúl Alelú-Paz, CEO of the Canis Majoris Foundation and Director of the NEPGC Laboratory, Dr. Ariel Cariaga-Martínez, LabManager of the NEPGC Laboratory, and Paige, Fellow Predoctoral at the NEPGC Laboratory, have already taught me many techniques that I was not familiarized  with, and I already feel very accustomed to the rhythm of the day in the Laboratory. All the necessary precautions that need to be taken now seem very intuitive to me, and I am sure that I will be able to work alone very soon. In addition, I love speaking in Spanish during the day and the warm and open attitude of the team.

Have you met the expectations you had before starting?

Given that I am learning many new things while immersed in a friendly, welcoming and mentally stimulating work environment, I can say that, without a doubt, my experience has exceeded my expectations. I feel very fortunate to know that I will experience some very enriching months in this Laboratory.


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