University of Texas, Austin
Thao is a fourth-year undergraduate at the University of Texas at Austin studying Human Biology and Neuroscience with a minor in Business. In 2019, Thao completed a year-long Capstone research project dedicated to understanding the impact cognitively-stimulating activities imposed on the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Now, as president of the UT BEI Chapter, she hopes to compassionately establish a similar impact on the seniors of the local Austin community. Her goal is to pursue an MD-PhD degree to become a physician-scientist in order to cultivate novel knowledge towards the cancer community while treating patients in a clinical setting.
Vivek Kumar is a sophomore at Vanderbilt University majoring in Neuroscience and Economics. The Brain Exercise Initiative piqued his interest by offering practical cognitive therapies to Alzheimer's patients that also develop intergenerational relationships. His passion for interdisciplinary medicine has led him to participate in neurotrauma research as well as work towards developing solutions for deteriorating healthcare infrastructures in developing countries.
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Selena Xue is a senior at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Computer Science. Selena co-founded a nonprofit chapter called Hack4Impact UTK that develops software for social good and has worked in a plant research lab studying nucleus movement. She has been interning at Genesis Neuroscience Clinic where she developed an interest in helping patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Midwestern State University
Tim Torres is pursing his Master’s in Biology at Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas, with research interests surrounding the biochemistry and physiology of the Monarch butterfly. He currently works as a medical scribe in a private practice Neurology clinic. This experience has provided him inspiration and cultivated his skills in working with patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
University of Florida
Dhruv Patel is a Junior at the University of Florida majoring in Biology on the pre-med track. He has a passion for medicine and dedicates his time towards research at the College of Dentistry at UF and the Florida Museum. He was inspired by BEI as it gave him the opportunity to practically apply research done on Alzheimer's to help the local community.
University of Texas at Dallas
Adithy is a Junior at The University of Texas at Dallas majoring in Biomedical Engineering on the pre-med track. She is a 2x published first author highlighting her work on the positive effects of yoga on Alzheimer’s Disease on a molecular level. This led her to start and lead UTD's chapter of BEI as she consistently works to find more opportunities to implement basic therapies that improve the cognitive function of AD patients.
Nova Southeastern University
Jainika Patel is a junior at Nova Southeastern University majoring in psychology and enrolled in the Osteopathic Medicine Dual Admission Program. Jainika works as a medical scribe where she first ran across treating dementia patients. With being a part of BEI, she wishes to be involved more in the Alzheimer’s community and implement a successful chapter for volunteers in South Florida. Jainika also participates in cardiac research at a Laboratory for the Study of Neurohormonal Control of Circulation working on how to decrease the numbers of cardiac fibrosis in post-op patients.
Divya Reddy is a junior at Duke University majoring in Biology and minoring in Neuroscience. She is currently working in a research lab studying Alzheimer’s disease, specifically analyzing the impact exercise could have on slowing cognitive decline, as well as the influence menopause may play in the pathology of this disease. Additionally, she volunteers for Crisis
Text Line, a mental health texting service.
Sonia Okekenwa is a rising senior majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Fisk University. She came across BEI when she participated in the UCLA-HBCU Neuroscience Pathways Program during the summer of 2019, where her work focused on Huntington’s disease. She has always been interested in neurodegenerative diseases and wanted to be a part of this program so she could make an impact in the Nashville community while doing what she loves.
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Abhi Kamath is a junior in the Early Medical School Acceptance Program at the University of Alabama at Birmingham where he majors in Neuroscience. At UAB, Abhi conducts research with the Day Lab, where he studies mechanisms of memory and addiction. Following his own grandmother’s diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, Abhi hopes to integrate BEI into the UAB Hospital to assist patients diagnosed with dementia and Alzheimer’s in Alabama.
University of Georgia
Stephanie Hayes is a senior at the University of Georgia, double majoring in Biology and Psychology with a Pre-Medical Intent. She has always had a passion for neurodegenerative diseases after her grandmother was diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia in 2016. Stephanie enjoys volunteering at her local hospital and forming connections with patients, and hopes to continue forming meaningful, healthy relationships with senior citizens through the BEI. She was an undergraduate research assistant in the Psychology Health and Developmental Lab at UGA and is currently applying to medical school.
Cynthia Zou is a second-year undergraduate student at Emory University studying Biology on the pre-medical track. Through being involved with the Brain Exercise Initiative, she hopes to raise awareness about neurodegenerative diseases in the Atlanta community and expand BEI to other retirement homes across Georgia. Cynthia also enjoys tutoring her peers in STEM courses and has interned at a biotechnology company, where she participated in the development of a newer SARS-CoV-2 detection kit.