Isabell Sagar

BRISURE Summer Research Student

Year in program: 2021

UCLA Mentors: Dr. Larry Hoffman

Home Institution Mentors: Dr. Ryan Draft

Current Institution: Harvard University

My name is Isabell Sagar, and I am a junior at Harvard University studying Neuroscience. I am interested mainly in cognitive neuroscience; specifically, in the neuroscience of consciousness, but I also have a background in clinical research and developmental psychology. Recently, within the Spelke lab for Cognitive Development at Harvard, I worked on understanding the development of physical and mathematical intuition in babies and children. However, my current work focuses more on how cognitive neuroscience research can inform psychosocial methods of promoting wellness. From a clinical standpoint, I’m working with the Integrated Brain Health Clinical Research program at Massachusetts General Hospital to investigate the efficacy of mindfulness-based interventions in the clinical setting, and how to best facilitate their implementation for a wide range of patient populations. Additionally, a project I am currently working on at Harvard investigates the cognitive neuroscience of self-development and self-transcendence, asking whether these concepts are linked with long-term meditation and/or physiological health.

As a participant of UCLA’s BRI-SURE Program, I was able to conduct neuroscientific research at the molecular level, investigating the synaptic morphology of hair cells within the mammalian inner ear. Having the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Larry Hoffman and gain insight into intimate scientific processes was an invaluable experience, as was having the chance to present my work at the end of the summer!