Sofia is an undergraduate research assistant in the Schaffer-Nishimura lab, working on in-vivo awake imaging of the mouse spinal cord. With three-photon fluorescence microscopy and genetically encoded calcium indicators, it is possible to record the activity of spinal cord neurons at depths never imaged before due to highly scattering white matter on the dorsal surface. This approach allows us to correlate limb movement and changes in locomotor speed with neural activity in a fully conscious, running mouse. By examining these patterns, we take one step closer towards developing therapies to repair spinal cord circuitry and facilitate recovery following disease or injury.
Sofia is currently a student in the College of Arts and Sciences, with majors in Biological Sciences, Philosophy, and College Scholar. Additionally, she is a Meinig Family Cornell National Scholar and a Tanner Dean's Scholar. When not in lab, Sofia works as a news editor for The Cornell Daily Sun — with over 130 stories under her byline — and as a volunteer at the Ithaca Free Clinic. Her main non-scientific interests include journalism ethics, student activism, and the philosophy of pain.