In(SIGHT)ful Words from Dr. Lindsey Glickfeld

A few days ago, I had a chat with Dr. Lindsey Glickfeld to learn a little more about her and her journey to the Glickfeld Lab. As she was talking, I heard a lot of insightful and comforting words that I hope to share with the blog today. (I also hope you readers appreciate the title because the Glickfeld Lab focuses on perception!)

1. Be Proactive about your Passion

For her undergraduate studies, Dr. Glickfeld attended Stanford University, and like most college students, she didn’t know what she wanted to study. She was always fond towards science and the natural world and followed the path of a Bachelor’s degree in biology. I asked her where her interest in neurobiology began if she had majored in solely biology. She explained that she didn’t know that neurobiology was a thing or a specific field, and it was a little bit of luck that opened the doors. As a freshman, she was sifting through research job listings and saw an opening from a graduate student looking for a research technician. Dr. Glickfeld thought that the opportunities that came with this job looked appealing; she joined this neurobiology lab and stayed for the rest of her time at Stanford!

She graduated from Stanford with a B.S. in biological sciences and attended the University of California at San Diego for her Ph.D., studying inhibitory interneurons in cortical circuits. Her passion in neurobiology continued to flourish during her postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Now, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurobiology at Duke University, and the principal investigator of the Glickfeld Lab!

2. Some Lessons Learned

“Learn to code.” As an undergraduate, Dr. Glickfeld was not sure whether to take an introductory computer science class or another biological sciences class. When she turned to a graduate student in her lab, the second opinion told her not to waste her time with the computer science class. The graduate student’s justification was that the programs and code functions in the comp-sci class could be found online. It wasn’t until Dr. Glickfeld was a postdoc that she first learned how to code and encourages others to learn how to code early.

“When the research is working . . . make hay.” As an experienced researcher, Dr. Glickfeld tries to extract different types of data from the same experiment to save time and money. She covers all the bases and passes down this tip to lab members. In fact, the project I am working on now was kicked off by past data that was reanalyzed in MatLab; so when experiments are working, “make hay because it always comes in handy.”

3. Silly Moments in Science

When Dr. Glickfeld first arrived to Duke to start up the Glickfeld Lab, she came with Dr. Court Hull, who is our next door neighbor in the Bryan Research Building. They were setting up some new equipment and finished getting the 2-photon microscope ready. Everyone in both labs were super excited and ready to image a mouse brain under the scope. Because the 2-photon microscope fires lasers that may damage eyesight, everyone gathered around the scope with safety goggles. Dr. Glickfeld remembers how silly they all looked, squished around in a circle, waiting for something to show up on the microscope. After spending all that time setting up the equipment, no data showed up; they saw nothing. She laughed recalling this moment and apologized for not telling a science related memory. Yet, I appreciated that her favorite memory in lab was non-scientific, and I wanted to share this memory to show the community that has been built between these two labs.

I’ve become more and more comfortable being here at the Glickfeld Lab knowing that I have a kind and supportive mentor ready to help. I hope anyone reading gets a better feel on what the environment at the Glickfeld Lab is like, and I am enthusiastic for what’s to come!

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