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Jenny Taylor, PhD

How did you become interested in neuroscience?

During college, I interned at a water quality testing lab that happened to share space with a county-run nursing facility. At the time, I found the patients with mental illness and movement disorders much more interesting than culturing water samples! I eventually figured out that neuroscience was an area that tied together my interests in biology, chemistry, and psychology.

What was the academic/professional path you had to take to get here?

I earned a PhD in Cellular and Clinical Neurobiology from Wayne State University. There I studied the side effects of L-DOPA in a rat model of Parkinson’s disease. For my first post-doc at the University of Michigan, I recorded neural activity in awake, behaving rats in order to investigate the contribution of dopamine to reward cues and movement sequencing. I also taught courses in biopsychology and research methods during this time. Next, I was awarded a translational research fellowship to work with the deep brain stimulation team at the University of Michigan and investigate impulsive and compulsive behavior in Parkinson’s patients. Most recently, I was hired to manage the undergraduate lab course and to assist with outreach activities.

What are your current research interests?

I continue to be fascinated by all things dopamine- Parkinson’s disease, drug addiction, OCD, Tourette’s syndrome, etc.