Monica Chang isn’t getting much sleep these days.
Between classes, research, and spearheading a variety of clubs on campus, the 15-year-old Camas High School junior is ready to throw her name in the ring at the Oregon Bioscience Showcase.
On Monday afternoon, at the OMSI Empirical Theater in Portland, Chang will present her project, titled “A Closer Look at Memory: The Effect of Diurnal Rhythms on Perineuronal Nets,” to more than 200 bioscience professionals in the audience. Chang is one of 10 finalists selected for this opportunity.
“I’ve always loved presenting and giving pitches,” she said. “I think one of the most exciting parts about research is being able to share what you’ve been doing and be able to connect with a lot of people and show them why it’s important to you and why it’s important in general.”
Chang will have three minutes to highlight her research and bring the most important details to life.
“We all know that sleep is important for physical bodies, but it’s actually really important for our memory and our brains, as well,” she said. “My project is looking at the brain structures that are involved with sleep and memory. Even though we spent a third of our lives sleeping, we don’t really know what’s happening.”
Chang experiences the effects of sleep and memory every single day as a busy high school student.
“I guess it is kind of ironic,” she said. “I’m studying how sleep is important for memory consolidation, yet I’m probably not getting enough sleep.”
Governor Kate Brown kicks off the Oregon Bioscience Showcase Monday with an introductory speech at 1 p.m. Finalists make their research pitches between 1:15 p.m. and 6 p.m.
This story will be updated Monday evening, after Chang’s presentation. Read the full feature in the Thursday, Nov. 9, print edition of the Post-Record.