Undergraduate Research Program

Rahul Chaliparambil

Major: Neuroscience
Mentor:Jennifer Deem, UWMDI


Current research project:Determining the Role of Dopamine in Cold-Induced Hyperphagia in Mice using an AAV-Mediated saCAS9 Knockdown


Rahul (he/him) is a rising junior studying Neuroscience with a minor in Bioethics at the University of Washington. He is currently studying the role of dopamine in cold-induced hyperphagia in mice using an AAV-Mediated saCAS9 knockdown. He is excited to be pushing the future of understanding how diabetes functions in the nervous system.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
The hefty energy demands of heat production in the cold are met by a hyperphagic (increased food intake) response. Recent work has shown temperature can act as a feed forward signal to hunger-driving Agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons, which respond to acute cold sensation by increasing their activity, and this increase of activity is necessary for the hyperphagic response. Understanding the causal mechanisms by which this pathway occurs would help us understand more basic mechanisms of hyperphagia and how they may apply in diabetes responses.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I have always been interested in Alzheimer’s Disease and neuroscience from a young age. I got involved in undergraduate research during my senior year of high school. I was given an amazing opportunity by the Kaeberlein Lab to get involved in the research at such a young age, and over the last three years I have learned so much about myself and my passions in science. This year, I started working at the Schwartz Lab in diabetes research, which has given me an exciting new change of pace.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Put yourself out there and go for it! It’s never too early to get involved, and it may turn out to be one of the most rewarding experiences of your undergraduate career. Many professors and PIs are excited to get undergraduates involved in their projects as well. We are all so lucky to attend an amazing research 1 university, and there is research across the UW in almost every field imaginable, and there is a lab/project out there waiting for you!