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Thaddeus W

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of Virginia


Neuroscience, neurodegeneration, circadian rhythms, neuroimmunology


Hi! My name is Thaddeus, I'm a PhD candidate studying Neuroscience at the University of Virginia. My current research is focused on the causes of circadian rhythm disruptions in Alzheimer's disease. I'm particularly interested in the effects that microglia, the resident immune cell of the brain, and cholesterol metabolism may have in altering circadian rhythms in neurodegeneration. Before starting my PhD I worked at the National Institutes of Health studying the role of microglia and immune signaling in depression and anxiety. For my undergraduate degree I attended Princeton University where I researched the role of the cerebellum in autism spectrum disorder. I also have a lot of different interests outside of lab! I love outdoor activities like backpacking, rock climbing, and mountain biking. I also enjoy reading and knitting.

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.

The causes of sleep disruptions in neurodegeneration

Sleep disruptions are a symptom of many different neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and Huntington's disease. Why do these very different diseases all share this one symptom? Is there one common cause of sleep disruptions in neurodegeneration or do different diseases arrive at this symptom via different pathways?

How does the brain's immune system respond to Alzheimer's disease?

Microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, change dramatically in Alzheimer's disease. Is this a helpful response or a destructive one? Recent research has provided evidence for both sides. How might this cell type both protect against and exacerbate the progression of Alzheimer's disease?

Teaching experience

As a graduate student I have mentored three undergraduate students on their independent research projects in our lab. For the last four years I have also volunteered in a program teaching neuroscience lessons to local K-12 classes.


Work experience

University of Virginia (2017 - Current)
Graduate Researcher
National Institutes of Health (2015 - 2017)
Post-baccalaureate Fellow
Princeton University (2013 - 2015)
Research Assistant


Princeton University
BA Bachelor of Arts
Molecular Biology
University of Virginia
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

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