Seoho (Michael) Song talks about 4th year

A day in the life

Seoho (Michael) Song talks about 4th year


If you’re interested in studying the brain and nervous system, I would definitely recommend the Neuroscience program at Dal. It goes into tremendous detail and you'll get valuable hands-on experience.

Academic work and extracurricular research work

"Time management is key," says Michael Song, reflecting on his four years in Dalhousie's Neuroscience program. Not uncommon advice; the hard part is figuring out exactly where to invest your time. 

"It's important to get a broad spectrum of experience from a variety of things," says Michael. "In my first year at Dal, I was very preoccupied with academics. Thinking back, I’d like to have gotten started in research a bit sooner."

Somewhere along the way, Michael figured out how to negotiate both the academic and research sides of his studies: he’s been awarded an NSERC Postgraduate Scholarship at the master’s level, which he’ll take with him to the Master of Science (MSc) in Neuroscience program at Oxford University, U.K..

Michael's ultimate goal is to become a physician-scientist, but for now he plans to pursue research in optogenetics—a technique that uses light to control the activity of nerve cells.

"There are so many interesting things about the brain,” Michael explains. “In one of my labs we did staining procedures, many of which are considered technical and difficult in an undergraduate setting. We also got to do cobalt filling on live flies. The result was really fulfilling—we could see entire cell bodies and their processes," he says, adding, "that's not easy to do." 

Michael admits his extracurricular interests lie outside of the usual sphere. "I was interested in a clinical research project led by Dr. Ivar Mendez at the QEII Division of Neurosurgery, so I contacted Dr. Mendez directly and that's how I got involved.”

His work in Dr. Mendez’s lab has been a perfect complement to his in-class learning. "I got a first-hand view of how treatments and procedures I’d learned about in class take place,” Michael explains. “I also met real patients with Parkinson's and other motor disorders—experiences I’d only known from textbooks.”

Michael speaks highly of the Neuroscience program—and its faculty. “It's very well-laid out and comprehensive. The profs know their material and many of them are also researchers, so they can provide personal insights beyond the text book. They’re very approachable and helpful.”