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Jared H

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University


Parkinson's disease, neurodegeneration, neuroimmunology, psychiatric features of neurodegenerative disease.


I am a physician and scientist at Johns Hopkins. My PhD work in neuroscience was focused on the molecular biology of Parkinson's disease (PD). Specifically, I used mouse models of PD to study the significance of neuroinflammation to PD progression and the therapeutic potential of targeting immune pathways. I also work on clinical research projects that investigate the psychiatric features of neurodegenerative diseases. I became interested in mentoring through Polygence because of its project-oriented organization. This is quite unique and creates the potential to replicate and benefit from the style of mentorship that is common in academic research, medical or otherwise. In my spare time, I love exploring the beautiful neighborhoods of Baltimore and finding great new restaurants. I also enjoy reading for fun and watching TV, especially in the company of our very large and fluffy cat!

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.

Immunological aspects of neurodegeneration

Neuroinflammation is increasingly appreciated as playing an important role in neurodegenerative diseases. But, what exactly do we mean by "neuroinflammation" in this context? What kinds of immune systems are being activated in neurodegenerative diseases, and why? Would reducing inflammation actually be an effective therapeutic approach? These questions encapsulate a hugely complex and interesting set of challenges that could be explored by a student in a paper or other project format.

The cellular components of neurodegeneration

Many people recognize "neurons" as being the all-star cells that allow our brains to function and lead to disease when they degenerate. However, neurons are only one of the many cell types found in the brain—and not the only cells affected in neurodegenerative diseases. Could a comparison of the cellular responses to neurodegeneration help to understand its root causes? How are single-cell sequencing approaches being leveraged to address these questions? How can we distinguish between adaptive and pathological cellular changes? This is another burgeoning area of research that will be of great academic interest for years to come.

Proteopathy in neurological illnesses

Pathological changes to protein structures are a recurring theme in human disease, including those of the brain. For example, in Alzheimer’s disease, the proteins amyloid beta and tau undergo changes that make them “sticky” and form aggregates that interfere with normal cellular function. But, what is the precise role of these aggregates in disease? Do they cause illness, or are they better thought of as a sign of underlying cellular deficits? Would targeting these proteins or their aggregates for destruction be a useful therapeutic approach? These questions constitute a hotly debated area of research and might inspire an interested student.

Psychiatry of neurodegenerative diseases

The brain enables us to maintain a stable sense of self, to create understandings of the world and others around us, and to plan for the future. Thus, unsurprisingly, many neurodegenerative illnesses result in greatly disabling psychiatric disturbances. How can we relate these changes to our understanding of “normal” brain function? Are there meaningful insights to be gleaned from comparing neuropsychiatric disorders in those with documented degenerative illnesses to those among individuals in the general population? This is a highly open-ended topic that could be viewed through a number of different lenses.

Coding skills


Teaching experience

While in college (2010-2014) I tutored local high school and middle school students in writing, mathematics, and sciences. At that point, I also worked as a teaching assistant (TA) for college-level courses in the biological sciences. During my MD/PhD training at Johns Hopkins (2015-present), I have been a regular TA for the medical school Neurology & Neuroanatomy coursework since 2018.


Work experience

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (2018 - Current)
Teaching assistant for Neurology & Neuroanatomy coursework taken by MD, PhD, and MD/PhD trainees
University of Chicago (2011 - 2015)
Teaching assistant for several advanced undergraduate courses in the Biological Sciences department
University of Chicago (2011 - 2015)
Undergraduate research experience in departments of Medicine, Neuroscience, and Immunology


University of Chicago
BS Bachelor of Science (2014)
Biological Sciences; Neuroscience specialization
Johns Hopkins University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Medicine, Neuroscience

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