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Rahul P

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)


Neuroscience, Biology, Engineering, Genetics, Data Science


I am a PhD-trained Biomedical Researcher and AI specialist who currently works at the intersection of research, business, and the legal profession. I began my journey at Rutgers, The State University in New Brunswick, New Jersey studying Cell Biology and Neuroscience. Here, I gained experience in several areas of biomedical research that focused on the development of new medicines and technologies to treat conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, inflammation, and cancer. I was a co-inventor on a patent application that was aimed to make drug discovery more efficient. Additionally, I recently completed a public education internship at the Society for Neuroscience where I was involved in an array of science outreach, writing, and advocacy activities. Following my BA, I served as a research scientist at Stanford University where I studied the cells that are targetted in multiple sclerosis. I then completed my PhD in Neuroscience at UNC-Chapel Hill. My thesis combined engineering, neuroscience, and machine learning. This interdisciplinary approach aimed to develop technologies to evaluate pain in animals to better inform the development of new, non-addictive pain medications. I now work on technologies such as CRISPR, gene editing, and other cutting-edge biomedical techniques as they pertain to new commercial applications. Outside of research and mentoring, I am very passionate about travel and food. I recently completed a trip to South America where I did a multi-day trek in Patagonia.

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.

What is pain and how can we better treat it?

Despite the seemingly universal nature of pain it is well established that individuals experience very differently. The roles of biological, psychological, and/or social/environmental factors in mediating these individual differences in pain perception and experience is an active and fascinating area of research. Project Ideas: 1) What do we know about biological (genetic, brain circuit, etc.) factors that influence pain? What are the current gaps in our understanding and how can they potentially be filled? 2) How do gene-environment interactions lead to differences in a painful experiences? How can we leverage technologies such as CRISPR to treat pain?

How does the brain process information in health and disease?

Information is stored in the brain from the level of single synapses to multiple brain areas. How this is achieved has been an active area of research for decades. Project ideas: 1) How does learning occur in the brain? From the level of electrical activity to molecular events, what is the contemporary explanation of how the brain learns in health and disease? We know many medical conditions are related to learning and memory deficits (Alzheimer's disease), but the mechanisms underlying these impairments are still relatively unknown. In this project we can explore normal processes in the brain (movement, learning, emotions, etc.) and how they are disrupted in clinical conditions.

Introduction to Data Science

Data is an increasingly important resource across both public and private sectors. Over the last 20 years, the quantity and quality of data accessible to make informed decisions have increased exponentially. This rise in data availability and quantity has led to a need for professionals who can organize and make meaningful analyses from increasingly large datasets. Given my experience in working with large data sets in the context of biology/neuroscience, I can envision multiple projects where we can work together to identify a big-data question, find appropriate datasets, filter the data set, and work towards making meaningful analyses from this dataset in the context of the questions of interest, and ultimately create deliverables (Github code, peer-reviewed publications, and websites).

How do early life events impact mental health?

We can explore a range of factors that influence mental health in adulthood. In this project we can combine nature and nurture factor analysis to determine how the presentation and severity of mental health conditions occurs.

Coding skills

python, R

Languages I know


Teaching experience

Spanning from English to Neuroscience, I have accumulated teaching experience in multiple areas through different teaching modalities. As a writing center tutor at Rutgers University, I coached and taught students in multiple courses/disciplines including expository writing and scientific/technical writing. In the sciences, I served as a teaching assistant for an Abnormal Psychology course at Rutgers University and now as a Ph.D. student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I am a guest lecturer for an undergraduate Learning and Memory class. In addition to my guest lectureship, throughout my career, I have mentored students in lab settings (15 undergraduate students) across the disciplines of biology, psychology, neuroscience, biomedical engineering, and computer science. Outside of my research, I like applying the scientific method at home to make delicious food for friends-I am currently working on perfecting a pizza recipe! I also enjoy watching and playing basketball and pre-covid, traveling.


Work experience

Society for Neuroscience (2016 - 2016)
Public Education Intern
Stanford University (2017 - 2017)
Life Science Research Professional 1
Rutgers-Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (2014 - 2018)
Research Assistant
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2018 - Current)
PhD Student


Rutgers University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2017)
Cell Biology and Neuroscience
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy (2023)

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