Student Experiences

As an undergraduate in HHS, you’ll have the chance to change lives with interdisciplinary research. You’ll work alongside faculty and classmates to improve health and enhance quality of life while pursuing exciting research topics related to your interests. See what these students have to say!  

HHS Research Experiences in the News 

Early Involvement in Research Pays Dividends for HHS Undergrads

Lab Culture in the Nutrition Science Clinical Research Center 


HHS Research Experiences

Name: Emma Marks

Year: Junior

Major: Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences and Spanish

Research: I work in Dr. Huber’s motor speech lab, and I help with transcription and measuring SPL. I really enjoy working in this lab and getting to work with others in my major and from other majors. I also enjoy learning new methods of research and the importance of what we are doing in lab!



Name: Shreya Sridhar

Year: Junior

Major: Public Health and Pre-Medicine

Research: Hi! My name's Shreya and I'm currently an undergraduate researcher at Dr. Huber's Motor Speech Lab, where I study Parkinson's disease (PD). We focus on analyzing the cognitive and motor impairments caused by PD, within senior individuals. In the lab, we listen to Parkinsonian speech and collect corresponding data from different research studies to better understand how to improve PD symptoms. As a new student in the lab, I learned the most by asking questions and challenging myself with different tasks, as well as building personal and professional relationships with the undergrad/grad students and lab assistants!



Name: Anna Flood

Year: Senior

Major: Health Sciences Pre-Professional Pre-Medicine

Research: I am an undergraduate research assistant in the Purdue Interdisciplinary Women's Reproductive Health Collaborative. We are currently working on a study examining the relationship between genital self-image and sexual functioning in women with inflammatory skin diseases of the vulva and comparing this to women with non-vulvar generalized skin diseases. Through this research, I have been shown the true disparities that exist in women's health and have a newfound passion for working to rid the field of these disparities. I have learned so much from my amazing mentors and wouldn't trade my experience for the world!



Name: William Mahoney

Year: Junior

Major: Health Sciences, Pre-Professional

Research: My research focuses on mapping neurotransmitters in the insular cortex in response to pain. In the Emir group, we use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) as well as magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (MRSI) as our main tools for data acquisition where we produce images of the brain and other body components then determine and study metabolite concentrations within those images. Learning the basics of MRI as well as comparing and analyzing data from scans never ceases to be fascinating and provides a unique learning experience that I can apply to future aspirations and projects. As well, learning about other research being conducted at Purdue and collaborating with professors, graduate students and other undergraduates has been an engaging and a beneficial experience that is difficult to find anywhere else.



Name: Amanda Kirchner

Year: Junior

Major: Neurobiology and Physiology

Research: I work in a Motor Speech Lab that allows me to understand the symptomologies of Parkinson's disease and how they can be lessened by certain innovations like the SpeechVive, created by Jessica Huber, my research mentor. It is such a rewarding experiencing, working with such a well known disease that has such little advocacy in terms of finding new technologies for those effected and bettering their quality of life! Our research team is a cunningly smart and driven family, and you can always look forward to a friendly face when you enter the room. I believe that is for this reason, and many others, that  our research is one of the most progressive studies for Parkinson's in the world of Motor Speech! (follow us on instagram @PurdueMotorSpeech)

I did a 2 week intensive with SLHS Summer Fun where I helped assist in data collection as we tried to discover successful teaching elements when promoting language acquisition. Our main concern of the lab was studying the language development of children between the years of 4-1/2 to 6 years of age. More specifically, why some children find it difficult acquiring language and how we can find ways to help them learn language more successfully.



Name: Vivian Hurn

Year: Sophomore

Major: Biomedical Science and Japanese Language

Research: I am researching the effects of heavy metal exposure on the copper chaperone for superoxide dismutase in the choroid plexus. I have done cell cultures, protein assays and worked with confocal laser microscopes. I currently have this as my own project and work with graduate students to help me with specific tasks. I also have weekly lab meetings where my lab group will discuss various toxicological subjects that will help with my research and understanding of the field. I am encouraged to be in the lab as often as I can, but the hours are very flexible and we all work hard to find times that work for everyone.



Name: Jackie Meade

Year: Junior

Major: Hospitality and Tourism Management

Research: I analyze secondary academic sources to understand more about the concept of Urban Exploration and elements of inequality in Urban Exploration. I have also had the opportunity to present our findings at 3 different undergraduate research conferences. Research during the time of a pandemic has taught me a lot about being flexible and working around challenges.



Name: Madeline Moser

Year: Senior

Major: Public Health - Concentration in Epidemiology

Research: The opportunity to work in Dr. Ruiz’s Public Health Lab has been nothing but rewarding. It has been a privilege to gain an enlightening research experience that has provided me with the chance to not only achieve new skills, but also make a difference in the lives of others. My role as a member in several different research teams and collaboration with various lab members has allowed me to grow my communication skills. The knowledge possessed by other team members has motivated me to network different ideas. This program has opened my eyes to other skills such as translation of documents, qualitative data analysis and qualitative coding using Microsoft Word Styles and NVivo software. I am assured that these skills will prepare me for future research experience as an Epidemiologist. Additionally, considering how Dr. Ruiz’s lab research has impacted both my professional and personal growth, I highly recommend it to all students who are considering participating in community engaged qualitative and quantitative research. 



Name: Sherry Zhang

Year: Senior

Major: Brain and Behavioral Sciences

Research: I am studying Brain and Behavioral Sciences and I joined Dr. Kelleher's Neurodevelopmental Family Lab as a sophomore. This lab broadly studies autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders, such as Angelman syndrome, Down Syndrome, fragile X syndrome, and more. Currently, I am involved with the Zika Project, which studies children from Brazil impacted by congenital Zika syndrome due to their mothers being infected by Zika virus during pregnancy. We are studying the developmental outcomes of these children in various domains, including cognitive, intellectual, and social functioning. I am pursuing my senior honors thesis through the Research Focused Honors Program, and I will be studying psychophysiological response to name call in this clinical group.

Through this lab, I have gained experience in what really goes into research, including data processing, data analysis, statistical knowledge, etc. The greatest opportunity I have had through this experience was to be mentored by Dr. Kelleher and grad students in the lab. I have learned so much through this mentorship experience and gained insight into what to expect in graduate school. This lab has been an incredibly supportive learning environment that has pushed me to strive for success. I have learned so much about research, as well as myself in what I hope to achieve.



Name: David Yi

Year: Senior

Major: Health Science Pre-Professional/Pre-Medicine Concentration

Research: I have been working in a lab, directed by Dr. Aaron Bowman, Ph.D., for two years. One of the lab’s main focuses involves understanding the mechanisms of neuronal dysfunction caused by exposure to environmental toxicants. My role includes validating primer sets for application in real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) assays to measure gene expression. Additionally, I have been a part of an ongoing investigation concerning the excitotoxic effects of chronic manganese exposure on cortical glutamatergic neurons derived from Alzheimer’s disease patients. 

Contributing to research and advancing science is incredibly exciting: I think many researchers will agree when I say that there is nothing like producing high quality results whether it is a plot with a perfect R^2 value or a beautiful immunofluorescence image with vibrant colors. Working in the lab has brought out the scientist in me—one who can design experiments, carry out procedures, and test a hypothesis. Even more is that I get to apply knowledge that I have learned in my classes here at Purdue. Techniques such as RNA isolation and theories such as the central dogma are ones that I have come to appreciate. Seeing these in action make science truly worth it!