Sohmee competed in the undergraduate category alongside other high school and college age students in this very prestigious competition. Sohmee's project, "Covert Retrieval of Contextual Memory in the Hippocampus", has been an ongoing research project for the past year and her studies have included over 100 hours of lab-based research at Texas A&M.
The research addressed anxiety and stress disorders (such as post-traumatic stress disorder, PTSD) by examining brain tissue, primarily from the hippocampus, of rats which were exposed to predicted stress.
She hypothesized that hippocampal activation would increase (and localize in stress-regulating regions) as the predictability of the stress stimulus decreased. By examining brain tissue for a certain biomarker of neuronal activity, Sohmee found that unexpected stresses led to strong activation of the hippocampus and other regions of the brain.
Sohmee plans on continuing this line of research during her senior year.