Helen Saad is a doctoral candidate in UCSD’s Bioengineering Department, where she is investigating the unmatched networking capabilities of the human brain—in particular, how signals and information are propagated through a neuronal network that includes the two major types of cells in the central nervous system: neurons and astrocytes. Through experiments and computer simulations, Helen hopes to more fully understand how functional networks can remodel the brain’s underlying structure. Her work will help to explain how Alzheimer’s and other brain diseases cause remodeling of brain structure and function in the areas affected.
A native of Lebanon, Helen received a Bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from the Lebanese American University, subsequently working for 5 years as a software and operations engineer in local and multinational companies. She is the first and only Lebanese citizen to receive an International Fulbright Science & Technology Award. Upon returning to her homeland, Helen plans to start a research center that will help bring Lebanon to the forefront of science, education, and cultural exchange.