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Dorian R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of Virginia, Charlottesville


cellular biology, biology of neurological or inflammatory diseases, development of new medications


As a biomedical researcher, I'm fascinated by the interfaces between disparate systems. What do an antidepressant medication and a bacterial infection have in common? How do the cellular "postal service" and the cellular "power plant" act upon each other in the pancreases of diabetes patients? These are the types of questions I studied for my PhD and postdoctoral projects, using the intricate inner workings of cells as a lens into the therapeutic possibilities for treating human diseases. In my personal life, I'm also a science hobbyist! I train rescue parrots using positive psychology techniques and study their mental processes. I make abstract paintings that depict scientific concepts. In the rare hours when I'm not thinking about science, I like to play video games, go running, and practice violin.

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.

Using old medicines in a new way

In this project, you will propose a new way to treat a human disease by finding a new use for an existing medication, a strategy called "drug repurposing." You will select a human disease that interests you, such as Alzheimer's disease or rheumatoid arthritis, to study carefully. You will learn how the disease process occurs and what medications are currently used to treat it. Then, you will search for other medications that might have beneficial effects on relevant physiological pathways. After collecting this information, you will write a persuasive review outlining the factual support, possible advantages, and potential challenges for "re-purposing" your chosen medication. By completing this project, you will gain a deep understanding about the specific biology of a human disease. You will also learn about how new medications are discovered, and how scientific ideas make their way through the various stages of preclinical and clinical testing to become medicine.

Write an academic article

In this project, you will learn all the skills you need to write a scientist-quality article for publication or inclusion in your portfolio. First, you will narrow down a specific biomedical topic that interests you. Then, we will work together to critically read and interpret professional academic literature. Finally, you will learn how to synthesize what you have read and present it in a professional format. You will also learn about how to succeed in the scientific publication process.

Languages I know

Japanese, conversational

Teaching experience

Most of my mentoring experience has been one-on-one in a lab setting. I taught students of all ages (high school to late graduate school) experimental techniques and helped them design research questions. In addition to technical assistance, I strive to help my mentees develop their philosophy of science and their goals as researchers. I have also been a teaching assistant for undergraduate and graduate level biomedical science classes.


Work experience

The Scripps Research Institute (2019 - 2022)
Postdoctoral fellow
Self employed (2022 - Current)
Freelance biomedical consultant


Wesleyan University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2012)
Molecular biology, Neuroscience
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
MS Master of Science (2015)
Biomedical science
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2019)

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