The College of Arts and Sciences is a hub of innovation and creativity and a continuous source of original contribution to the world of academia. A good deal of that contribution stems from the work done by undergraduates. ArtSci Council draws attention to some of the most stellar work done by undergrads in order to promote their efforts and encourage other students to follow in their example.
Jasmine Brown is a senior and neuroscience major in the biology department who has been involved in neuroscience research for four years. As a culmination of her hard work and dedication, she has been chosen as a Rhodes Scholar, a prestigious scholarship awarded to 32 students each year to study at the University of Oxford in England. She began her research journey the summer after her senior year at a lab at the University of Miami. Jasmine’s main motivation to begin conducting research was to help her identify what major she would be interested in. She participated in the Brain Bee, the largest worldwide neuroscience competition for high school students, and began exploring her passion for neuroscience. She has spent the following summers pursing many different research internships both at WashU and at universities across the country; she conducted research at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine, and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
For two years, Jasmine has been conducting research in Dr. Robyn Klein’s neuroimmunology lab at WashU. She focuses specifically on the West Nile Virus and how it affects brain functions in both humans and rats. About half of the studied humans and rats have cognitive deficits while the other half retain their function. Jasmine’s research comes from the hypothesis that the subjects that have no deficits contain a protection mechanism, and she is currently trying to map the genes that correspond to this mechanism. Such research has the potential for large-scale impacts both in the United States and all around the world as this disease is prevalent in all locations. The WashU BP Endure program, which prepares undergrads from diverse backgrounds to pursue neuroscience PhD programs, allowed Jasmine to continue conducting research into the summer and further her interest.
Looking back at her research experience at WashU, Jasmine stated that the misconceptions and bias some have regarding people of color is something that needs to be addressed. She believes that there needs to be more support offered for students of color wanting to get involved in academic research, and people need to alter the way they act in the lab setting. To begin working towards such initiatives, Jasmine has started the group Minority Association of Rising Scientists (MARS) to support underrepresented students in the research field.
In the future, Jasmine is considering pursuing an MD/PhD at Oxford. To learn more about Jasmine’s research or the programs she was involved in at Washu, please contact ArtSci Council!