Undergraduate Research Program

Jonathan Lam

Lam, Jonathan

Neurobiology      Minor: Chemistry, Mathematics
Mentor: Martin Davas, Pathology

Contact: jylam@uw.edu

Current research project: Examining the Role of Acetylcholine on Long-Term Plasticity in the Ventral Striatum after Repeated Amphetamine Exposure



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Short-term increases in the neurotransmitter dopamine cause persistent changes in glutamate release that contributes to drug dependence. Our lab has shown in the past that within the dorsal striatum, a structure of the brain that plays a critical role in the reward pathway, acetylcholine encodes long lasting changes in glutamate release after repeated amphetamine exposure to raise dopamine levels. Currently, we are examining whether this same mechanism also occurs within the ventral striatum to gain a better understanding of how abnormal dopamine release can impact neural pathways in the brain.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I started with undergraduate research during Autumn Quarter of my freshman year by contacting various faculty through the URP database and managed to find an position in the Neurology department. Ever since I was in high school, I have been fascinated with the inner workings of the brain and undergraduate research provided me with an opportunity to explore my curiosity while learning firsthand from an expert in the field.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Keep an open mind when you look for a research position as you may find an interesting project in a field you never considered. Also, be persistent as not every professor has an open position in their lab so just keep looking if they say no!