Svetlana Lockwood, a graduate student in the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, is the first-ever Washington State University student to receive a National Science Foundation (NSF) Nordic Research Opportunity grant.
The grant provides students with international research experience and the chance to establish collaborations with researchers at Nordic research institutions.
Focusing on Memory
Lockwood has spent the summer and fall semesters at the Kavli Institute for Systems Neuroscience and Centre for the Biology of Memory (CBM) at Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). CBM is one of fifteen prestigious Kavli Institutes located around the world, most of which are in the US. The Norwegian Research Council has designated it a Center of Excellence.
She is interested in furthering her career and continuing her research, which has been focused on bioinformatics. In Norway, she is working in a group led by Professor Yasser Roudi and other researchers that is working to uncover general principles of neural network computation in the mammalian cortex.
In particular, Lockwood is working to better understand neural networks in the brain. While the neuron has been well-modeled, neural networks and the interactions between neurons are much more complicated. Such network activity is important to memory and learning.
“My general hope is that my research will advance our understanding of how we learn and how neurons represent and store information in the brain,” she said. “I think neuroscience is the field where the application of machine learning tools will be advantageous.”
Dedicated to Learning
Originally from Latvia, Lockwood came to the U.S. in 2002. Since then, she has had an extraordinary academic career, receiving numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Goldwater Award, given to only 300 students in the U.S. each year. She received her bachelor’s degree in computer science at WSU in 2010 and is currently pursuing a doctorate, focusing on bioinformatics. Her advisor is Professor Shira Broschat.
In 2011, she received a prestigious National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship, which provides three years of funding support. Lockwood, who has cerebral palsy, was also one of nine people in the U.S. to receive the Google Lime Scholar Award, sponsored by Google and Lime Connect, a non-profit group that provides scholarships for people with disabilities.