Graduate studies

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson

Making a contribution to brain research

One look at Jessica Simpson’s academic resumé and it’s immediately apparent this bright young neuroscience researcher could have studied pretty much anywhere she wanted. Her lengthy list of publications and conference presentations is matched only by the impressive number of scholarships and awards she’s received.

But Simpson, who completed a combined biology and psychology honours degree in 2009 and just received her MSc in biology, chose to stick to her hometown of Victoria when it came time to pursue—and continue—her studies.

After working in Dr. Brian Christie’s neuroscience lab during her undergraduate honours project, Simpson knew she’d be staying at UVic for her master’s. “I just loved working in the lab, so I stayed on the project and started my master’s the following year,” she says.

While Simpson says she’s “always found the brain fascinating” and would rather spend her time in a lab than a classroom, it was the specific research that Christie was conducting on part of the brain called the hippocampus that sealed the deal.

Simpson’s master’s project focused on how Huntington’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disorder, can alter brain plasticity, specifically in the hippocampus, which is associated with learning and memory. “Throughout a lifetime, this region continues to produce new neurons, which is unique within the nervous system,” she explains. Read more about Jessica’s brain research.

Graduate education at UVic offers a rare chance to create and mobilize new knowledge and to work side-by-side with scholars and practitioners on initiatives that may be unique in the world. Learn more about graduate studies in the Faculty of Science.