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Joanna's Story

As an intern at the Brain and Spine Institute in Paris, Joanna Lin worked on a module relating deep brain stimulation in patients with Parkinson’s Disease to a brain atlas. 

Joanna explains that Patients with Parkinson’s Disease suffer from a lack of dopamine in the basal ganglia, a region important for motor movement. In addition to tremors, the natural progression can lead to freezing of gait, which is extremely dangerous. “Imagine being in the middle of a step and suddenly being unable to move your legs—you would fall,” she shares. For many, there’s a drug that mimics dopamine and slows the progression of the disease. However, for those who don’t respond to it, deep brain stimulation is a surgical solution that uses electrical stimulation to increase the amount of dopamine released by neurons. “My project was part of a larger effort to build a brain atlas. I compiled data from patients with electrical rods inserted near their basal ganglia, analyzing the different symptoms caused by stimulating each rod. The data was then used to increase the accuracy of where the rods were inserted in future patients.”

  • Brain Science Institute
“I am so grateful that I got to experience MISTI, from being able to work with incredible scientists to experiencing a whole new culture. I came away with a greater appreciation for international exchange.”
Joanna Lin, Class of 2021
Major and Class Year
Biology and Global Languages, 2021
Host Location
Program Type
Host Name
Brain & Science Institute