DJ Turned Scientist Works to Reverse Engineer Depression, PTSD and Drug Addiction

DJ Turned Scientist Works to Reverse Engineer Depression, PTSD and Drug Addiction

Jenny Treweek, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, examines the physiological function of stress-related neuropeptide circuits using advanced neuroscience. Photo/Daniel Druhora “There’s a brain in here!” Jenny Treweek exuberantly exclaims, raising a small, translucent tube containing the brain of a mouse that looks like it’s floating in Jell-O. It’s her latest experiment in tissue clearing – one of her efforts to combine her background in chemistry, economics, systems neuroscience, optogenetics, biomedical engineering and even music to examine the physiological function of stress-related neuropeptide circuits involved in drug addiction, depression and PTSD. Her research interests are summarized in this quote from famed molecular biologist Francis Crick that she has posted on her own webpage : “There is no scientific study more vital to man than the study of his own brain. Our entire view of the universe depends on it.” The Gabilan Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering joined USC Viterbi in January 2019. We sat down with Treweek, an avid animal lover who spends time volunteering at animal shelters, to become more acquainted with her and her multifaceted research. Tell us about the cat in the picture on your desk. Oh, that’s Gracie. I could talk about her forever. I was a foster failure. This is ironic. Actually, when I was applying for jobs, to recruit me, they showed me the (USC) Michelson Center for Convergent Bioscience , and it just blew me away. Finally, I thought, someone was doing science correctly, putting the electrical engineers with chemical engineers, with systems neuroscientists – people more like me – and that was a big draw. So, when they were talking to me about Michelson, I started researching – what is the Michelson building? Who is Michelson? You know, so I don’t sound like an idiot during interviews. And I look up a […]

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