Where Ideas grow

i3S fellow picked to represent Fulbright Portugal

Jessica Phan, a Fulbright research fellow who is developing her work in the Addiction Biology laboratory, was selected to represent Fulbright Portugal at the 66th Fulbright Berlin Seminar which is to take place in March. Later this month she will travel to Amsterdam to participate in the program “Our Voices: Navigating Identities in the Fulbright Program”, a seminar focused on promoting diversity and inclusion.

Born in Los Angeles, Jessica Phan passed through Spain first, more precisely at Carlos III University, in Madrid, and only later, within the FLAD Program “Study in Portugal Network”, did she arrive in Portugal, where she spent six weeks in the group i3S “Structural Biochemistry” led by João Morais Cabral.

Enchanted with the city of Porto and the Portuguese, but mainly with the fact that Portugal was the first country in the world to decriminalize drug use, she decided to apply for a Fulbright research scholarship to acquire knowledge in this area and extend her stay in Portugal. She succeeded and will stay in Porto and at the i3S until June.

Jessica Phan is currently using electrophysiology and computer analysis to evaluate the activity profiles of hippocampal neurons exposed to psychostimulant drugs (such as methamphetamine). In addition to her lab work she is working with her group leader, Teresa Summavielle, in the campaign “Põe-te a Milhas das Pastilhas” - which aims to reduce the use and abuse of drugs among adolescents in Portugal.

When she returns to the United States - Jessica Phan intends to pursue a doctorate in research applied to medicine. Her long-term goal “is to study the molecular underpinnings of how negative psychosocial environments contribute to neuropathologies. I hope to better understand the mechanisms that regulate neuropsychological disorders to develop effective treatment modalities and reduce health disparities among marginalized populations”.