Undergraduate Research Program

Alina Chandra

Smiling for CameraMajor: Biochemistry
Mentor: Jennifer Rabbitts, Department of Anesthesiology, Seattle Children’s Hospital

Contact: nchand@uw.edu

Current research project: Project 1) Associations Between Post-Surgical Acute Pain Functionality and Surgical Outcomes in Youth Project Project 2) Prevalence and Predictors of Chronic Pain Following Traumatic Musculoskeletal Injury


Alina is an Interdisciplinary Honors student at the University of Washington. She is interested in intersections between the fields of biology, computer science, and sociology. Alina was first exposed to research as a volunteer researcher in the Kutter Bacteriophage Lab at the Evergreen State College. She later interned in the Subramanian Immunology Lab at the Institute for Systems Biology. She began her research at UW as part of the SCAN Design Innovations in Pain Internship, under the mentorship of Dr. Jennifer Rabbitts. In the Rabbitts lab she studies the development of chronic pain. This research is of particular interest to her as it considers not only the physiological determinants of pain, but also the sociocultural determinants. After graduating, Alina plans to attend graduate school. She hopes to continue conducting research that addresses issues surrounding healthcare from both biological and sociocultural perspectives.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Chronic pain is pain that lasts for longer than three months and causes significant emotional distress or disability. Chronic pain takes a major toll on both patients and society as a whole. It is estimated that America alone’s persistent pain costs over $560 billion annually. My research aims to understand how and why chronic pain develops after surgeries and traumatic injuries. This research is important for identifying those at risk for chronic pain and for developing interventions targeting

risk factors to improve long-term outcomes after surgery and trauma.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in research because I wanted to explore science beyond the classroom. When I first got to UW I reached out to several professors doing interesting research, but unfortunately none of them had openings for me. Then I met with a URP advisor who advised me to apply to the SCAN Design Innovations in Pain research internship, which resulted in my first undergraduate research opportunity.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
You might face some rejection, but don’t give up. Go to the Undergraduate Research Program instead!