Fellowship Boot Camp profile: Eugene Yoon

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Eugene Yoon, Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering

Fellowship Boot Camp 2016 runs August 2 – August 12. Boot Camp is an opportunity for students to maximize the impact of their fellowship application. The following is a brief profile of a Boot Camp participant, Eugene Yoon.

MAJOR: Ph.D., Biomedical Engineering

RESEARCH OBJECTIVE: Retinal prosthesis implants, which means that there’s a device that will actually attach to the back of your eye—the retina—and stimulate ganglion cells, or neurons within the retina to evoke vision in patients who have lost vision due to certain cell death. But by directly electrically stimulating these cells, you can elicit what we call phosphines—visual perceptions—and that’ll help people understand, “does this retinal ganglion cell represent red or green? Or if I pulse it at this frequency with this current, does it mean I see motion?” And likewise we’ll have another electrode connected to the brain, which will connect to a chip. This chip interfaces with both the retina and the brain to understand the connection between the visual cortex and the eye, elucidating the entire circuitry behind the brain and the eye. We hope to decode that neural circuitry behind the visual system.

BOOT CAMP TIP: One thing mentioned today was how the [NSF reviewers], they’re not looking for academics specifically, but a more diverse scientific workforce, which makes me understand their frame of thought and makes me know my audience so I can tailor my application to fit what they want.

6 WORD STORY: Forehead snails to brain machine interfaces… “I used to stick snails on my forehead. And now I’m sticking electrodes onto brains. It’s taking my earlier childhood passions in life science and chemistry and biology and engineering, and then maturing that into a very advanced project I’d like to pursue.”