Pho Hale

I joined the Neural Circuits and Memory Lab as a PhD student in Neuroscience in Fall 2021 after working with Dr. Diba during my first-year rotations through the U-M Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) Program. After graduating with a degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Kansas, I did contract-work in Scientific Software Development while studying neuroscience in my free time. In particular, I designed and built a single-electrode EEG headset and a custom tDCS circuit that improved upon the safety of extant designs by monitoring the electrode impedance and dynamically adjusting the applied stimulation voltage. In Spring 2019, I was hired by Dr. Brendon Watson at the University of Michigan (U-M) to engineer and build “digital homecages” for rodent studies that automatically monitor over 50 behavioral metrics for extended periods of time.

In Dr. Diba’s lab, I plan to use the digital homecages and signal analysis of neural recordings to understand how information is encoded and represented in the brain. More broadly, I’m interested in how cognition and ultimately behavior emerges from brain structure and function. I am excited to begin my PhD research by studying how hippocampal place-cell activations during navigation are “replayed” during sleep to understand how new locational information is integrated with existing memories. Outside of research, I am also passionate about increasing inclusivity in academic settings. When I’m not thinking about science, I can be found tinkering with computers, going on road trips, or wandering around in nature.

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