Undergraduate Research Program

Corinna Oswell

Corinna Smiling during a hikeMajor: Neuroscience
Mentor: Michael Bruchas, Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine

Contact: oswelc@uw.edu

Current research project: Biased Signaling in a Dorsal Raphe to Nucleus Accumbens Circuit that Drives Motivated Behaviors


Corinna is a senior at the University of Washington studying neuroscience. Since 2019, she has been working in the Bruchas lab studying the mechanisms of opioid addiction in animal models. She has recently begun a project examining how a particular circuit contributes to differential effects of opioids including pain analgesia. In her free time she enjoys eating her way around Seattle and managing her fantasy football team.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
I study opioid addiction in the context of circuits, meaning neural pathways that ultimately lead to a behavior. This means we are tracking the mechanisms of neural signals between different brain areas.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in research at the end of my freshman year because I knew that I wanted to study addiction and contribute to developing treatments. I used the URP database to find labs that interested me and I emailed them, and I got lucky to find a lab that is such a good fit.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Patience! Research takes time, and that includes finding research that you enjoy doing. There will inevitably be many frustrations, but that is expected considering you’re trying to figure out something that no one knows.