Brian Trieu

Entering Class - 2017

Member of MSTP (MD/PhD) program


Undergraduate Institution and Major:

University of California, B.S. in Developmental and Cell Biology, 2011

Undergraduate Awards:

Excellence in Undergraduate Research, 2011

Dean’s Honor List, 2007-2011

Graduate Advisor:

Patrick Rothwell, Ph.D., Department of Neuroscience

Graduate Research:

People diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit persevering habits and social behaviors that can significantly impair quality of life. The pathophysiology underlying this is not well understood which limit therapeutic options. Using mice with autism-associated genetic mutations, my research explores aberrant neuronal circuits within the striatum which contribute to these behaviors. By elucidating unique mechanisms that modulate synaptic transmission in the striatum, I aim to utilize neuromodulatory approaches to selectively rescue synaptic and behavioral deficits which can give insight to future pathology-targeted therapeutics.

Undergraduate or Post-Bac Research:

I worked with Drs. Gary Lynch and Christine Gall at UC Irvine studying hippocampal synaptic plasticity in rodents. Through a combination of electrophysiology, imaging methods, and behavioral tasks, we sought to understand and bridge the molecular mechanisms underlying long-term potentiation and behaviors associated with learning and memory.

What Got You Interested In Research?

I got hooked when I realized that there was little difference between science fiction and reality. Within a research question, I could push the boundaries of knowledge as far as my imagination will go. It’s exciting to be in a field where crazy ideas, creativity, and unique perspectives are the norm.

Why Did You Choose MN?

Minnesota offers a unique and extraordinarily cohesive climate that will facilitate my growth as a person. The Graduate Program in Neuroscience and Medical Sciences Training Program’s collaborative and rigorous training coupled with their extensive resources is an excellent environment to do creative research and foster success as a future physician-scientist.

Student Mentor and the Best Advice They Gave:

Brian Sweis: Learn for the sake of learning because neuroscience is fun and exciting stuff. Utilize classes to hone critical thinking and interpretation skills as a creative and rigorous scientist. 

Favorite Itasca Memory:

On our last weekend, we invaded the small local bar for karaoke night. It was a night full of shenanigans, tear-inducing laughter, and moments we will never forget.


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