profile picture

Kyle P

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)


Neuroscience of addiction and mental illness, genetic and epigenetic mechanisms in the brain, pharmaceuticals and pharmacology


My academic passions lie primarily in understanding how the brain is affected by mental illness, drug abuse, as well as degenerative disorders such as traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer's disease. All of these disorders are defined by underlying biological changes to the structure of DNA, the proteins on the cell surface, and the connections that these nerve cells have with cells in other brain regions and networks. However, these same processes are influenced by less defined factors such as learning, emotion, and cognition. My biggest personal interest right now is gardening. It really is fascinating to plant some seeds, care for them, and watch them grow and produce food for your family. This ties in quite well with my interest in creating new pickle recipes with various spices while using the scientific method and questionnaires to probe my friends and family about their taste.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Effect of Traumatic Brain Injury on Behavior and Cognition

Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are common in impact sports and combat zones. Some are severe immediately and cause severe bleeding in the brain, while others involve the slow accumulation of many small impacts and brain bleeds that progress. TBIs vastly affect cognition and memory, and cause accelerated neurodegeneration in patients. The goal of this project would be to understand the underlying factors that cause the lifelong problems and neurodegeneration.

Understanding the Mechanisms Underlying Drug Abuse

Addiction is a learned behavior that comes with the repeated use of stimulants, depressants, or narcotics. These different drug classes have very different mechanisms of action and affect people in very different ways, yet they all hijack innate learning mechanisms to drive a person to seek the drug above food, water, family, school, and work. The goal of this project would be to investigate one specific drug and how it hijacks the brain with repeated use.

Teaching experience

I have 7 years of experience as a college teaching assistant and 4 years as a teaching associate where I created and conducted college courses as the instructor of record. I have previously mentored about 24 undergraduate students, 4 high school students, 5 laboratory technicians, and 3 graduate students during my time as a phd student and a postdoctoral researcher.


Work experience

UCSB (2018 - 2020)
Postdoctoral scholar
CU Boulder (2020 - 2021)
Postdoctoral scholar
Cayuga Biotech (2015 - Current)
Chief Technical Officer and Head of R&D
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (2024 - Current)
Associate Scientist


University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)
BS Bachelor of Science
University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Neuroscience and Behavior

Interested in working with expert mentors like Kyle?

Apply now