Meet our Early Career Scientist Grant Winner Yifeng Cheng

Meet our Early Career Scientist Grant Winner Yifeng Cheng
3 months ago

Meet our Early Career Scientist Grant Winner Yifeng Cheng

We’re delighted to introduce another Early Career Scientist Grant winner! Yifeng Cheng is a postdoc at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA, and is the latest winner of our monthly $500 grant!

We’re proud to support early career life scientists with a monthly grant awarded to one lucky PhD or postdoc. Over the last two years we have supported more than 30 life science researchers who have used the money to help them with conference or publishing fees, travel costs, the purchase of lab supplies, and more!

Yifeng works in the Janak Lab at Johns Hopkins, and will use his grant to help fund two conference trips, including the 2024 Winter Conference on Brain Research in Breckenridge, CO, USA.

When we asked Yifeng how he felt about receiving the award, he told us:

I am thrilled to get this award. This grant helps a lot to reduce the financial burden on myself and my lab to attend and organize a panel for the Winter Brain Conference. This not only helps me to attend this conference but will also contribute towards my attendance at the Gordon Conference later in the year, so this means a lot to me. Yifeng Cheng, Johns Hopkins University Psychological & Brain Sciences, USA, Hello Bio Early Career Scientist Grant winner


Congratulations Yifeng! First, can you tell us a bit more about what you're working on at the moment?

I am currently still working on understanding the role of corticostriatal pathway in action-selection processes and how alcohol or other substances hijack these neurocomputation processes using high-density neural recording (neuropixel), behaviour assessment and computational modelling.


What is it about your field of research that gets you most excited?

I get most excited about computational models and the theory part of neuroscience research because it provides a mathematical description of important mechanisms and also offers a framework to guide the experiment design.


Which scientists working today do you most admire, and why?

Besides my current PI Patricia Janak, I really admire Drs. Daeyeol Lee, David Redish, and Andreas Nieder, because their work contains both biological and computational studies.


What do you think are the biggest challenges currently facing life scientists and their work?

Two things: 1. Scientifically, I think biology lacks quantitative theory like Theory of relativity in psychics to predict and guide the future study. Branching these topics out a little is that most of the biology study involves lots of noise so that it becomes hard to reproduce. 2. I think most life scientists that I know are getting low pay and have a shortage in their research funding.


And finally… what’s your favourite science joke?

Why don’t neurons ever get lost? Because they always follow their own path…ways!


Thank you so much Yifeng! We wish you all the very best with your future research and we hope you enjoy the conferences!

Connect with Yifeng:


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