Students explore mysteries of the brain in 2018 Neuroscience Scholars program

Students explore mysteries of the brain in 2018 Neuroscience Scholars program

July 10, 2018

  • The Neuroscience Scholars working in the Basic and Translational Neuroscience Research track offered by ASU and the Biodesign Institute are (from left) Haidyn Bulen, Marianne Cayer, Darya Tehranchi, Arianna Lew, Shiv Shah.

    Download Photo

July 10, 2018

Students from Arizona State University, University of Arizona and universities across the U.S. are spending eight weeks working side by side with some of the world’s most talented scientists, clinicians and researchers in an environment devoted to neuroscientific biomedical research and clinical care.

The Banner-ASU Neuroscience Scholars is a paid, eight-week training program open to top-achieving college undergraduate and graduate science students. Scholars work full time on a research project under the mentorship of a Banner Research or ASU Biodesign scientist to unlock medical and scientific mysteries in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, in a lab setting in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area. 

“Advancing the research education and training of great students by talented researchers is important as we fight against Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders,” said Eric Reiman, M.D., executive director of the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute and co-director of the ASU-Banner Neurodegenerative Disease Research Center at ASU Biodesign Institute. The program is an extension of a longstanding project at Banner Research. 

The Neuroscience Scholars who will work in the Basic and Translational Neuroscience research track offered by ASU and the Biodesign Institute are Haidyn Bulen, Arianna Lew, Shiv Shah and Darya Tehranchi from ASU, and Marianne Cayer from UA. The scholars working on the Banner Research Tracks are Camden Bole and Courtney Nelson from Grand Canyon University; Christopher Bruske and Fayssal Stipho from UA; Weixi Li from Georgia Institute of Technology; Megan Ringo from Ripon College; and Imani Sharpe from ASU.

“My ultimate goal in life is to leave the greatest impact on my community that I can, and this is exactly what I hope to do in my career,” Bruske said. “Whether that be discoveries in the lab that ensure the next generation does not suffer from debilitating diseases or impacting a single individual in a medical setting.”

The program runs through July 26 with research opportunities divided into four separate tracks: Basic and Translational Neuroscience, Computational Image Analysis, Healthy Aging Research, and Brain and Body Donation.

Neuroscience Scholars receive hands-on training, attend educational seminars to boost their professional skills, learn about bioscience career options, practice scientific writing, attend social networking events, and present a scientific poster that illustrates their work at a concluding symposium that will be held on July 26.

ASU professors mentoring the students include Heather Bimonte-Nelson, Department of Psychology; Gene Brewer, Department of Psychology; Brent Vernon, School of Biological and Health Systems Engineering; and Jason Newbern, School of Life Sciences. The Banner principal investigators are Mike Ahmadi, Geidy Serrano and Kathy O'Connor. 

Past participants have gone on to achieve success and shared impressive accomplishments, including scientific abstract and manuscript publications, earning top student rankings, gaining acceptance into first-rate graduate and medical schools and receiving national awards and scholarships.

“Young people bring enormous curiosity and ideas to science and technology.  Banner and ASU-Biodesign Institute researchers are working to unlock medical and scientific mysteries in neurodegenerative diseases.  Investment to support ambitious students will only help to accelerate our work,” said Joshua LaBaer, M.D., Ph.D., and executive director of the Biodesign Institute.

The 2018 Banner-ASU Neuroscience Scholars is generously sponsored by the Robert E. Schneider Foundation.

The Neuroscience Scholars Committee is seeking contributions to support the immersive training of student researchers. For more information, visit Contact or for more information.


Written by: Jean Clare Sarmiento