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Lila Levinson


Words are what first got me interested in the brain. Without me even trying, words on a page could transform from a mish-mosh of letters to powerful thoughts and feelings that were all my own. My brain was clearly the magician at the center of this, and I had so many questions about how it performed this neat trick. I followed those questions and discovered so many more questions. What about our brains makes us able to change? Can we use technology to shape these changes?

These are questions that I work on now as a PhD student in Neuroscience at the University of Washington. Our brains have an amazing capacity to adapt and recover from injuries like strokes, but this recovery is not always complete. I'm interested in using cutting-edge devices to harness and direct the existing flexibility of the brain to help people recovery more quickly and effectively after a life-changing neurological injury. My work focuses on creating meaningful measurements so we know how well these treatments are working.
Although my research revolves around numbers, words have never lost their magic for me. Reading and writing have kept me grounded through the stresses of school and science. Science writing has offered me a place where science and words have equal importance, where I get to work with both sides of the magic trick at once. I am so excited to write for the Dallas Morning News this summer, and thankful to AAAS for this opportunity!


A woman in a striped shirt smiles while standing in front of a brick wall
Photo Credit: Samantha Sun

University of Washington

Fellowship Sponsor: Heising-Simons Foundation

Fellowship Host: The Dallas Morning News