TJ Student Conducted Neuroscience Research

Anna Lulushi

Anna Lulushi is looking forward to sharing her journey as a young woman with experience in STEM research.

Lulushi, a senior at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, is scheduled to speak at Saturday’s K-12 STEM Symposium. Lulushi conducted research in the school’s neuroscience lab last semester along with a study partner, Artemis Veizi.

“My partner and I developed a new paradigm, based off of previous research in the lab, to model neuroplasticity and learning associated with the performance of a simple motor task — tracing through a maze,” Lulushi said. “We designed and 3-D-printed a 12-inch by 12-inch maze, suspended a webcam over it, and projected live video of the maze onto a nearby monitor.”

At Thomas Jefferson, all seniors are expected to complete a major science or engineering research project. Lulushi’s project required participants to trace through the maze with their fingers while watching the video on the computer.

“In our experimental trials, the image of the maze was reversed, either horizontally, vertically or both,” she said. “The main idea was to test how participants responded to learning something new, and to see if the learning ‘curve’ itself could be modeled. As they did this, we recorded their brainwaves using the OpenBCI EEG headset and OpenVibe software, then later analyzed the data using MatLab. We specifically looked at beta and theta frequency wavelengths, as those are the most frequently implicated in neuroplasticity and learning.”

Thomas Jefferson High School has several specialized research laboratories designed to enhance the curriculum.

Lulushi plans to double major in neuroscience and computer science in college before attending either graduate school or medical school.

“Either way,” she said, “I would love to conduct research in the future on potential cures for dementia and Alzheimer’s.”

Lulushi is one of several individuals scheduled to speak at the STEM Symposium. For a full schedule, click here. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees are asked to register in advance.

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