Merel Jacobs ’20

Research Assistant at Oregon Health & Science University

Major: Psychology, Neuroscience Minor

Merel Jacobs“The lab I work in studies the effects of methamphetamine and alcohol on decision-making and neural connectivity using functional brain imaging. The goal of the current research is to identify treatments for recovery from addiction. My responsibilities include recruitment of participants, conducting study visits with our participants, administering Neuropsychological Assessments, data entry/analysis, and assisting other study staff members on tasks involving MRI Scans, PET Imaging, and DNA amplification. We also edit and review other labs’ manuscripts for publication and write/publish our own publications. 

I have learned an incredible amount of valuable information from my time at the lab. First of all, I learned that I am intrigued with research and that it is a field I see myself pursuing in the future. I have learned a lot about substance abuse itself by conducting interview visits with our participants. These interactions have given me a new passion of helping people with addiction. Even though science can be tedious, and results can sometimes be disappointing, the adrenaline rush from discovering new findings keeps me going. The amount of information I have learned just from working, reading papers, and understanding the process of what we are doing is extensive. I have also learned so much about myself from working in this lab. I have become much more confident in the workplace. I love neuroscience and am excited to see where my future in science takes me.

I have always wanted to study substance abuse and recovery, so this lab’s field of research felt like a good fit. I was also excited to learn all the details about research to make sure it is a field I am interested in as I plan for graduate school. I believe that internships provide students with hands-on experience that can’t be taught in a classroom. It is crucial that students have experience in their desired field before graduating so that they can plan for their future, whether that means diving deeper into their current studies or changing paths for something that better suits their interests.”