Columbia University in the City of New York

This Vegetarian Builds Brainy Tools

Meet Graduate Student Elizabeth Brewer, Neurobiology and Behavior Program

Elizabeth Brewer, who reads philosophy in her spare time, has long been interested in helping people with psychiatric issues. As a graduate student at Columbia’s Irving Medical Center, she's now furthering this goal by developing technologies that accelerate progress in brain science. Working in the Yamamoto lab, she’s enhancing a tool called TurboID to make it possible to track, in the brain, where a protein of interest is at the precise moment a mouse forms or recalls a memory. She hopes that new tools like this will ultimately help to reveal the fundamental mechanisms underlying neurological diseases. Photos by fellow graduate student Thomas Barlow.




Brain tissues are stored in liquid nitrogen to preserve cellular and chemical structures.


Thin brain slices from mice are mounted on a slide for analysis.


A fluorescence microscope reveals hidden structures in samples of brain tissues.


Moving DNA from mice through this gel reveals genetic differences between samples.


Brewer in the lab

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