St. George’s University fifth-term medical student Sunita Hingorani was recognized for her contribution to the founding and growth of the NeuroResearch Student Group, a contingent of SGU students dedicated to research in neuroscience. Thus, when it came time for Dr. Tuula Jalonen, Professor of Neuroscience at SGU, to award the inaugural NeuroResearch Excellence Award, Ms. Hungrani was an easy choice.
“I wanted to recognize someone who shows excellence in neuroscience, in research and in their other studies, someone who is motivated, has good ideas, and shows leadership and enthusiasm for research,” said Dr. Jalonen, who serves as Ms. Hingorani’s academic advisor. “Sunita is all these things. She kept the group together and pushed and motivated her peers to keep working. I really felt she was the perfect person for this first award, and I can already see other excellent researchers coming up within the group.”
NeuroResearch has grown from a membership of five in 2012 to more than 30 students, all with a thirst and passion for research and neuroscience. Students who join the group devise their own research project or join one of several ongoing projects. The group’s goal is to conduct research significant to neuroscience and with potential benefit for the Grenadian community.
Thus far, the group has researched the use of Propofol by physicians, neuropathic pain in sickle cell disease, awareness of Alzheimer’s disease in Grenada, the prevalence and mechanisms of HTLV-1 infection, migraine, depression in schoolchildren, ‘neurophobia’ among medical students, and diabetes and NMDA receptor activity in cells. Through the support of Dr. Marios Loukas, SGU’s Dean of Medical Research, NeuroResearch has acquired a patch clamp for the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience, which will assist them in their research in the upcoming semester.
“The research we do is so relevant,” said Ms. Hingorani. “I find myself connecting most of my classes to neuroscience. The research we conducted has helped me remember more of what I was learning in class. I’m sure that my experience in NeuroResearch has prepared me to be open to new ideas in my future career.”.”
Members of NeuroResearch Student Group have presented at two SGU Research Day events and at the One Health, One Medicine conference. In July, Dr. Jalonen will also present a poster on a mathematical model of HTLV-1 at the Federation of European Neuroscience Forum in Milan. Even though Ms. Hingorani is leaving Grenada for her clinical rotations, her hope is to remain involved in NeuroResearch as much as possible.