To start with, what’s your preferred name, pronouns if using, year, and program
Si-ah Choi, She/Her, Third-year, Honours Behavioural Neuroscience
Can you tell us about your research?
I am currently doing my third-year honours thesis project with Dr. Clare Beasley at BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute. Our main focus is the potential role of the complement immune system in psychiatric disorders. My project consists of examining gene expression (mRNA) levels of complement regulator proteins in post-mortem human brain tissue of individuals who had schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or neither. I also volunteer in the Haas Lab, aiding with data annotation for neuron reconstruction software development through machine learning. While psychiatry is definitely one of my biggest research interests, I am also interested in synaptic plasticity and the neuroscience of motivation.
What has been your favourite experience from the psychology honours program?
I will have to say that my favourite part of the honours program is the Q&A period after each presentation or discussion during the seminars. Everyone has amazing insights into various topics, making the questions very interesting and thought-provoking. Everyone is also like-minded, in the sense that they are all genuinely interested in psychological research and in learning more about the myriad branches of psychology. This means that participation rates are very high, and we often have to refrain from asking more questions in order to keep the seminar on track with the schedule. This does not stop us from asking questions after the seminar is over, though!
Has your perspective on psychology changed since you’ve been in the program?
It most definitely has. Coming from a science background, psychology always seemed like one solid topic with minimal branching. After all, it is just about the human mind, right? I have quickly realized that this is wrong, as there are so many different ways of looking at just one aspect of the human mind. I was enlightened as I listened to my peers’ presentations of their respective research, including cultural, clinical, developmental, and sexual psychology. Looking back, this was precisely the reason why I applied to be in the program. I wanted to learn about other types of research, and the honours program was able to give that to me.
Do you have advice for anyone considering applying for the honours program?
Completing two honours theses while handling coursework is not an easy task. It will take up a lot of time and effort. However, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you are interested in pursuing further research down the road, want to create a supportive community with like-minded students, or just want to constantly hear about cool research! It is definitely worth it, and I am looking forward to fourth-year already.