Collaborated with a group of the world’s premier scientists, professors, and professionals in the fields of neuroscience and neuroethics.
Synthesized new neuroscience knowledge into a research proposal for a cutting-edge neuroscience experiment.
Engaged in interactive activities with discussions about cognitive neuroscience and neuroethics in a cross-cultural setting through a biophysical lens.
Read more about Awahan here.
Saint Xavier’s College Maitighar
Class of 2021
Awahan Sapkota graduated high school from the Saint Xavier's College Maitighar. He is from Nepal and aspires to study biology for his undergraduate studies.
Awahan loves to participate in the science competitions, such as the olympiads. He represented his country Nepal in the 31st International Biology Olympiad. He is actively involved in community service through the Key Club of Kathmandu and STEM Foundation Nepal. During his free time, he spends time with his friends cycling and hiking. He also loves reading books and learning Spanish.
Awahan is very excited to participate in the Advanced Medical and Neuroscience Internship. He wants to use his knowledge in tackling diseases. Since the incidence of neurological disorders has rapidly increased, he believes his experience and knowledge from this program will help him fight neurological disorders by studying their diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment.
Read more about Awahan's achievements here
My Research Proposal
Read my proposal here.
At the conclusion of the internship, I presented my research proposal to a panel of judges including Dr. James Giordano, Dr. John Shook, and Dr. Michael Heinrich. Respectively, these judges are the Chair of Georgetown University’s Neuroethics Studies Program, Philosopher and Bowie State University Professor, and Coburg University’s School of Design Dean of Studies.
Leadership Initiatives is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to creating future leaders across the globe through experiential learning. In the Advanced Medical Neuroscience Internship, I worked directly with some of the world’s leading scientists to learn about neuroethics, neurocognitive health, and revolutionary developments in the field.
The Frontier of Neuroscience
Collaborating With Leading Neuroscientists
I had the chance to work with Dr. John VanMeter, Director of the Department of Neurology at the Center for Functional and Molecular Imaging and Professor at Georgetown University.
Dr. VanMeter has significant expertise in the analysis of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data and its application in the brain sciences, and we learned more about the processes and applications of cutting-edge imaging techniques.
Dr. VanMeter’s graduate work involved the development of computer algorithms used for the analysis of white matter and grey matter segmentation in structural MRI scans.
Premier Neuroscience Software
Dr. VanMeter gave us access to MRICron, a free, interactive software that allowed us to view various fMRI images.
Dr. VanMeter then described the rationale protocols, capabilities, and limitations of state-of-the-art forms of fMRI and tract-tracing.
In addition to this, Dr. VanMeter also demonstrated the debates surrounding the validity, value, and ever-expanding sophistication of imaging the live brain.
Dr. James Giordano
Dr. James Giordano
The Creative Brain
Experts & Mentors
I had the chance to work and collaborate directly with Dr. James Giordano, Chief of Georgetown University’s Neuroethics Studies Program. In addition to his involvement with a variety of educational institutions, Dr. Giordano is the author of over 350 publications in neuroscience and neuroethics.
During our first meeting, I got a crash course on the biological mind of our species. I learned about the major role our subconscious plays in our thinking, and how these thoughts rarely breach our consciousness.
This new knowledge prompted a debate over free will, whether we maintain true control over our mental functions, and the crucial implications for both our individuals and social lives.
I learned about the anatomy and physiology of the brain in a demonstrative lecture from Dr. Giordano.
The brain is protected by the skull and is composed of the cerebrum, cerebellum, and brain stem. It embodies an individual’s mind and soul, in conjunction with governing intelligence, creativity, emotion, and memory.
This amazing organ is not only of use to us in life but in death as well. After explaining the brain’s anatomy and physiology, Dr. Giordano outlined the use of Brain Banks, which are organizations that accept brains for research that is instrumental in mitigating the effects and prevalence of neurocognitive disease.
The Creative Brain
I had the opportunity to discuss stimulating creativity with brain science with Dr. Adam Green, the Director of the Lab for Relational Cognition at Georgetown University.
Dr. Green maintains that creative insights are “the product of connections made between things other people didn’t put together,” and we explored the neurological foundations of this theory.
In this sense, creativity becomes an exchange between connecting and disconnecting from memory, as memory is imperative to accessing a starting point and a frame of reference.
This disconnection allows people to generate a new path from the same beginning. One must be able to recognize what they currently know in order to stray from it.
Experts & Mentors
Along with Dr. Giordano, I had the opportunity to work closely with Dr. Rachel Wurzman, a Fellow with the Center for Neuroscience & Society and Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Neurology with the Laboratory of Neural Stimulation at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Wurzman lent her expertise of neuroplasticity, neurodiversity, and neuroethics to help our team develop our research proposal.
In addition to Dr. Wurzman’s assistance, my team worked directly with Professor Heather Aranyi, leading communication coach and faculty in Northwestern University’s Farley Center for Entrepreneurship. Professor Aranyi helped us develop the story behind our proposal, properly contextualize our research, and hone our presentation skills.