Undergraduate Research Program

Vasan Jagadeesh

Vasan smiling in a suitMajor: Physiology
Mentor: Steve Perlmutter, Physiology and Biophysics

Contact: vasanj@uw.edu

Current research project: Multisite, Activity Dependent Spinal Stimulation to Promote Motor Function after Cervical Spinal Cord Injury

Vasan is a senior graduating in spring of 2021 with a Bachelor’s of Sciences Degree in Physiology. Since 2018, Vasan has been working with Dr. Perlmutter to develop a novel therapeutic solution to help patients with spinal cord injuries regain the precise functioning of their hands and arms. Vasan is also very passionate about research in brain computer interfaces and how they can be implemented effectively in healthcare. In his free time, Vasan loves to go bouldering, go on hikes and take photos, and play sports with friends.

 

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Spinal cord injuries are devastating and can result in the loss of voluntary function of all four limbs of the body. The research that I am a part of investigates the use of implantation devices that send small electrical impulses to the muscles of the arm. These electrical impulses allow for the use of the particular limb despite the damaged state of the spinal cord.

 

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I began research in my sophomore year because I had originally chosen UW for its prestige and resources in research. I knew that I wanted to be involved when coming into college so my motivation drove me to search for opportunities. I searched the URP Database for available research positions in my field of interest and then proceeded to email the labs, making sure to indicate my interests. Research has been a huge part of both my personal and academic development throughout college and I would never exchange it for any other experience.

 

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
The biggest mistake I see undergrads in research making is that they often stick through in a research lab for a year or longer even if they don’t enjoy what they are doing in their position or in the lab in general. There are SO many opportunities out there and you shouldn’t be afraid to try multiple labs. Most labs require a minimum of 10 hours/week commitment which is a lot of time to waste if you are not enjoying the work that the lab is doing. Express your voice and don’t be shy to ask for more important duties in the lab either, the worst answer is “No”.