Clara Tang with her family on graduation day

Each year approximately 25 students from around the world meet at the St Lucia campus for the Queensland Brain Institute’s Summer Research Scholarship Program.

In 2012, Clara Tang, studying for a Bachelor of Medical Science at Australian National University, was accepted into the program, and spent six weeks studying with QBI Deputy Director Professor Pankaj Sah.

“Being awarded a summer scholarship meant that I could work alongside some of UQ’s leading brain researchers and feel more prepared to contribute to future neuroscience research,” Ms Tang said.

Ms Tang was ranked the highest student in the cohort in terms of her research potential and previous academic merit, and received the Aleks Brumby Summer Research Scholarship.

The $1500 scholarship, made on behalf of Glen and Aija Brumby, is motivated by their support for future discoveries in neurological research.

Throughout the internship, Ms Tang and Professor Sah focused on understanding the function of the amygdala, a part of the brain which provides people with the ability to recognise and avoid dangerous situations.

Although the role of the amygdala is essential, its dysfunction can lead to a range of anxiety-related disorders.

“I benefited immensely from this research experience as it has strengthened my laboratory and research skills and has broadened my understanding of neuroscience,” Ms Tang said.

Ms Tang is the first recipient of the Aleks Brumby Summer Research Scholarship, which will be awarded annually for five years.

“It was a pleasure meeting all the researchers at QBI and I am thankful for everyone at Professor Sah’s lab and to the Brumbys for the scholarship and opportunity,” Ms Tang said.