Meet Yizhen Zhang, recent Intel Science Talent Search finalist and local high school student. Yizhen attends the Richard Montgomery High School and is a senior. Yizhen tells KID visitors about her winning project (“Wiring for ‘Blue’-Connectome of the S-Cone Photoreceptor in the Outer Retina”), her internship at NIH with Dr. Wei Li, and what inspired her. Her research observations may help future treatments for colorblindness.

Below are excerpts from an interview at KID Museum with Yizhen Zhang.

Question: What inspired your idea?

Zhang: “I was always interested in how things work, for example how the circuits work or how we are able to move. From that, it kind of created a catalyst for me to be interested in how our eyes work and how we are able to perceive different colors.”

Question: What led you to research colorblindness?

Zhang: “I have a friend and teacher who are colorblind, so I thought about how they see the world. The world that I see is very colorful and I want to make a difference in how they see the world.” 

Question: How does research in a lab compare to research in a classroom? 

Zhang:”Research in the lab is very different from research in a classroom. In the classroom, you learn about the foundation…about how cells work and what cells are. In the lab, you are able to apply that knowledge into a real-life experience. It is very different. I highly advise all students to have that experience in the lab or a place like KID Museum.”