Neuroplasticity and Degenerative Disorders
Sahba Seddighi, a junior from Knoxville, Tennessee, is completing a self-designed curriculum in Neuroplasticity and Degenerative Disorders through the College Scholars Program. For her senior thesis, under the direction of Dr. Matthew Cooper, she is utilizing Syrian hamsters to study play-induced neuroplasticity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex and the subsequent effects on resiliency to psychosocial stress. Sahba is also currently in the final steps of developing a project in Dr. Harriet Bowden’s Neurolinguistics laboratory to investigate the neurocognitive basis of second language acquisition, primarily via electroencephalography/ event-related potentials (EEG/ERP). Additionally, she has spent previous summers conducting research on Multiple Sclerosis at the National Institutes of Health and studying Alzheimer’s disease as an Amgen Scholar at Stanford University.
Overall, her interests lie in neurodegenerative disorders, particularly in the exploitation of neuroplasticity as a therapeutic tool. She will be pursuing this line of research during spring 2015 as a visiting fellow at the Cajal Institute, the oldest and largest neuroscience research center in Spain.
With such interests, on campus, she also serves as the student representative on the Chancellor’s Top 25 Initiative Research Advisory Committee and the UTK Undergraduate Research Advisory Committee, is Research Editor for Pursuit: The Journal of Undergraduate Research, Co-Chair of the Executive Committee for the Undergraduate Research Students’ Association, President of Advancement of Neuroscience at UTK, a volunteer cognitive tester at the Cole Neuroscience Center, and has led UTK’s First Annual Brain Awareness Week. Through such efforts, Sahba hopes to make lasting positive impact both on campus and in the community as a Haslam Scholar.