Undergraduate Research Program

Sahej Walia

Walia, SahejMajor: Biochemistry
Mentor: Erica Young, Seattle Children’s Research Institute

Contact: sahejwa@uw.edu

Current research project: Investigating Shunting Problems in Children with Hydrocephalus


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Shunt failure is a common problem reported in young patients with hydrocephalus. The research lab I am involved in studies the inflammatory response to the shunt introduced in brains of children with excessive fluid build-up in the ventricular space of the brain. We quantify the response to the shunt through immunohistochemistry and computer-generated cell counts. This research will help us identify coatings that can reduce the inflammatory response, and thus decrease patient visits resulting from shunt failure.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
As is the case for a research study in any field, one needs to be able to commit a substantial amount of time and effort. Personally, I am amazed every day at how much knowledge I am able to pick up by actively engaging in research through asking questing of my lab mentors. My best advice is to actively seek to be a valuable member of any lab that you are interested in; your efforts will certainly make your experience incredibly rewarding!

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
As an undergraduate working in a lab, one must not be afraid to carve out as much time as possible so that one can actively seek the help of experienced members in order to build on one’s knowledge bank!