Undergraduate research can be very rewarding. Your efforts can take you beyond the typical experience of classroom teaching – think outside the box, reason clearly and broaden your mind. In our lab, we select the finest students who want to learn and grow. We do our best to push you to fulfill both your own individual objectives as well as help accomplish our research goals. Being an undergraduate is not entirely about meeting the expectations of others. It also involves a dynamic relationship of self-discovery and learning. For those currently aiming for a future in science and experience undergraduate research with full conviction are encouraged to approach us. Preference is given to those who demonstrate commitment, strong work ethic and walking the extra mile!
Here is an overview of our lab, and how you, as an undergraduate, can become a part of it.
(i) Who we are: Scientists who strive hard to understand how the brain and spinal cord function in normal conditions and after their insult. We study several motor functions of the brain and spinal cord in the laboratory rat including the ability to walk, stand, reach out, grasp and eat – before and after an experimental neurological injury.
(ii) The importance of our research:
Many young people are afflicted with spinal cord injury from falls or road traffic accidents (average age of spinal cord injured person is 31 years old). After paralysis, victims of the injury are unable to move or feel any sensation. This devastating condition greatly compromises the quality of life. Read more here to find more about Spinal Cord Injury.
(iii) What can you do to help?: By volunteering with us, you will learn more about the condition and assist us in our experiments. As a result, you will be a part of a team that is striving to find cures for paralysis!
(iv) Our scientific approach: We first induce an injury to the laboratory rat that mimics the human condition. We then use several strategies – electrical stimulation, motor rehabilitation and pharmacology – to help the animals recover from sensory and motor paralysis.
(v) Lab Techniques : We use high-end research tools such as electromyography (that records activity of muscles from the limbs – similar to EEG from the heart), 3D Video tracking (to see a movement frame-by-frame that offers resolution up to 400 frames per second) and advanced microscope imaging (to visualize neurons).
(vi) What are your lab duties?: Assist us during animal testing, training, surgical procedures, animal care and handling, analyze electromyography and video data, cut brain and spinal cord tissue, process tissue for staining, etc, work under the microscope, discuss your research findings, obtain and learn literature in the field, learn every single day and call yourself a true scientist! Depending on your contribution to a project, we invite undergraduate students for potential authorship in our research publications – A unique feat for an Undergrad!!
Anyone with the enthusiasm to perform and learn about our research is welcome to apply. A minimum of 15 hours per week is expected and may include weekends. Yes, we need your commitment, but you will learn more and contribute even more! Your background in Biology/Neuroscience/Bioengineering/Engineering is a great plus!
Please fill out our form in its entirety and we will set up an appointment for an interview.
Below are links to a few papers regarding our work so that you can familiarize yourself with us.
Shah_Brain_Reprint_2013-1 Shah and Edgerton 2012 EJN Gad_Shah_Cage Activity_2013