Hi! My name is Swapnil Dash and I am a Business Honors major from Austin, TX. After I complete my undergraduate studies, I plan on attending medical school with the hopes of serving as a physician and a leader in improving the service quality of healthcare for patients and their families.
My first experience with research was during the fall semester of my freshman year under Dr. Michelle Hook, in the department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics. Currently, my undergraduate research project focuses on depression and cognitive decline after spinal cord injury (SCI) in a transgenic rat model of Alzheimer's Disease (AD). Hundreds of thousands of people live with SCI, impairing the quality of life and providing many physical and psychological challenges post-injury for both patients and their caretaker(s). Up to 60% of people living with SCI develop chronic challenges with learning and memory, executive function, attention, and processing speed. Patients with SCI are also two times more likely to develop Alzheimer's Disease and related dementias, which rob them of memory and cognitive abilities, impacting daily functioning and quality of life. By investigating the molecular changes induced by SCI and identifying the causal factor(s), I hope to contribute to the understanding of depression, cognitive dysfunction, and neuropathology after SCI and improve quality of life for people living with this injury, and subsequently, the general public.
Moreover, I hope to begin pursuing research relating to the business of healthcare under Dr. Len Berry. We hope to improve the service quality of healthcare, specifically in end-of-life and cancer care. By engaging with undergraduate research, I have experienced numerous benefits, including the ability to work efficiently with a team, better understand research publications, and explore my areas of interest. Finally, my exposure to research has affirmed my interest in pursuing a medical education.
When I am not in the classroom or in the lab, you can usually find me reading a good book or exploring new coffee and boba shops! I also enjoy playing tennis and volleyball with my friends and watching movies (La La Land is my favorite)!
If you are thinking about joining a lab or you want to learn more about undergraduate research, I would love to talk to you about it!