STEM Squad Profile: Celia Ford

My name is Celia Ford, and I’m a queer neuroscientist-in-training! I have an Sc.B. in cognitive neuroscience from Brown University, and I’m currently pursuing my Ph.D. in neuroscience at UC Berkeley. I didn’t always know that I wanted to be a scientist, but I always loved thinking about thinking. As a kid, I read books on philosophy and psychology (and world religion and music theory and art history…) cover to cover. By my first year of college, my vague childhood interest in the human mind had morphed into a drive to understand the biology that makes the human mind possible! Now, I study one of the most mysterious parts of the primate brain: the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC). This confusing chunk of tissue (right behind your eyeballs!) seems to be responsible for helping us understand the value of objects and actions in the world around us. It also seems to go wrong in several mental illnesses that don’t always respond well to pharmaceudical treatment, like OCD and addiction. Hopefully, by understanding OFC, we can develop individualized BMI (Brain-Machine Interface)-driven treatments for otherwise hard-to-treat mental illnesses. Outside of lab, I write about social justice, mental health, and sometimes, just about adjusting to life as a graduate student. I also love music and public speaking, and spent four years working as a commercial alt-rock DJ in Providence, RI. I would love to combine writing and talking into a microphone to make and contribute to SciComm videos and podcasts. I am very interested in scientific storytelling, and am working to improve at it every day!

Find Celia on her website, Medium, and Instagram!

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