Polypilot product mascot

Introducing PolyPilot:

Our AI-Powered Mentorship Program

Start your trial today

Learn More
profile picture

Eric M

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of Alabama at Birmingham


Neuroscience and pain, cancer biology, autism


I received my PhD in 2008 in Neurobiology. I studied how aquaporins (water channels) functioned in glioblastoma and astrocyte migration and volume regulation. Since receiving my PhD, I have been working on projects examining the underlying mechanisms of pain and Angelman syndrome. I really enjoy hiking and camping. In my spare time I enjoy writing fiction novels. I have written 2 unpublished works to date. An interesting fact about me is that I once rode my bicycle from San Francisco to Washington D.C. when I was in college to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.

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.

Pain Modulation

Chronic pain affects tens of millions of people in the US yearly. This pain can be severe, persistent or come and go. This consistent pain leads to heightened anxiety, trouble sleeping and increased depression in suffering individuals leading to decrease in the quality of life. What are the factors involved influencing our pain responses? Can we target specific areas to better relieve pain? How is pain studied and how well do these methods translate to human subjects? What are the gaps in our knowledge and how can we close them? Possible project ideas are writing a review paper or interviewing pain researchers and creating podcast.

Understanding Autism

The rate of autism is growing but researchers are unsure what is causing this rise. While scientists have found genetic components associated with the increase in autism, understanding what is causing the rise must first be uncovered. What are some environmental factors responsible for this increase? How can we change these environmental factors to reduce the incidence of autism? Possible project ideas are writing a review paper or interviewing autism researchers and creating podcast.

Cancer Biology

Cancer is a disease where there is uncontrollable growth and spreading of the body's cells to other parts of the body. There are more than 100 different cancer types in humans. What type of symptoms do patients experience? How are these currently treated? What are new ways researchers are targeting cancer for treatment? Possible project ideas are writing a review paper or interviewing cancer researchers and creating podcast.

Teaching experience

I have taught 2 graduate level courses. I have been a youth baseball coach, soccer coach, and coached 2 Elementary Science Olympiad teams. I mentor several graduate rotation students and many undergraduate students in my lab. Many of these students have gone on to graduate or medical school. I have also previously mentored high school students.


Work experience

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2014 - Current)
Research Associate/Lab Manager
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2008 - 2014)
Postdoctoral Fellow


Mercer University
BS Bachelor of Science (2001)
University of Alabama at Birmingham
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2008)

Completed Projects

Interested in working with expert mentors like Eric?

Apply now