Lex Gómez, Ph.D. student, Neuroscience
Studies brain development
“Ms. Gómez has shown herself to be an exemplary student in her program and is dedicated to pursuing a career as an independent investigator in the field of neuroscience. She is not only dedicated to her own success as a graduate student and scientist, but has demonstrated her commitment to service to her program and university by serving on multiple committees within her program, serving as a member of the Graduate Student Senate, providing mentorship to new students in the program, and participating in outreach events.” – Megan Meyer, Administrator, Neuroscience Graduate Program
• Hometown: San Antonio, Texas
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Mark Blumberg, Ph.D. student, F. Wendell Miller Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? Neuroscience, Spring 2022
• Please describe your research: In my work, I study how the infant brain processes sensory information. Specifically, I investigate how different types of sensory input—sense of movement and sense of touch— are processed at multiple levels in the sensorimotor system of infant rats. I am interested in understanding how sensory processing changes in early development and how it is modulated by behavior.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? My work provides important context for understanding how infant brains make sense of the world. It helps answer the question: How does a growing brain make sense of a growing body, as well as the environment around it?
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? Immediately. I began with my first-year rotations in various lab affiliated with the Neuroscience program.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Through my involvement in research, I have developed considerable confidence in my own knowledge and skills— but have also developed the confidence to admit when my knowledge and skills are in need of improvement. The ability to realistically self-evaluate is critical to the pursuit of future success. I’ve also developed great connections with peers and mentors within the research community at the University of Iowa.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? I plan to continue pursuing research in a postdoctoral position at another university. My ultimate goal is to become a principal investigator and run my own laboratory.
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