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Hunter P

- Research Program Mentor

MD/PhD candidate at University of Washington


Neuroscience, Neurodegeneration, Medicine, Philosophy of Mind


After growing up in North Carolina, I spent my undergraduate career studying neuroscience through the lenses of both biology and philosophy, concurrently working in a neuroimaging laboratory to better understand how we process speech. These days I spend most of my time studying ALS as part of my MD/PhD training. My work centers on understanding why a key protein departs neuronal nuclei and aggregates in the cytoplasm during ALS, with a focus on developing a means of therapeutically reversing this process. Outside of the lab, I enjoy archery and photography as well as all manner of board, video, and tabletop roleplaying games.

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.

Toxic Conformation: A Survey of Protein Aggregation in Neurological Disease

From Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease to ALS and Huntington's disease, aberrant protein aggregation is a well-known feature of many neurodegenerative processes. In this project, students will explore why protein aggregates are so common in neurological disease and how superficially similar structures can lead to such diverse pathologies.

One Brain, Many Minds: The Split-Brain Phenomenon and its Implications for Consciousness

It's easy to take for granted that within each of our brains lies the machinery to power precisely one unified mind, but the behavior of split-brain patients strongly calls this assumption into question. While these patients would seem unremarkable in a crowd, specialized tasks can elicit responses from one cerebral hemisphere that outright contradict the responses of the other, causing patients to behave as if they are simultaneously controlled by two (or more?) distinct minds. In this project, students will explore the split-brain phenomenon in addition to related neurological conditions like blindsight and hemispheric neglect, coming to their own conclusions about the unity of consciousness in health and disease.

Coding skills


Languages I know


Teaching experience

I have spent the past few years heading the Young Scientist Program's anatomy and physiology teaching team, a group that visits local grade schools to teach students about human anatomy. In addition, I served as the teaching assistant for the Microbes and Pathogenesis course at the Washington University School of Medicine, earning the David F. Silbert Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.



Washington University in St. Louis
BA Bachelor of Arts (2015)
Biology (Neuroscience); Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology
University of Washington
MD/PhD Doctor of Medicine and of Philosophy candidate

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