Kashish Mehta

Biomedical Physiology Honours

The Brain Resilience Project is a collaborative project that gathers sleep, cognitive and neuroimaging data to identify the risk factors and biophysical mechanisms that predict cognitive decline in dementia.

Why did you choose to come to SFU?

I had always been intrigued by human biology and SFU's Biomedical Physiology program offered a focus on human physiology and anatomy specifically while also allowing me the option to concentrate on advanced courses in physiology of my choosing with degree progression. I felt that the program perfectly catered to my interests as a neurophysiology enthusiast and my needs as a prospective medical student. 

How would you describe your research or program to a family member?

Our project takes participants from the BC Generations Project cohort and we ask them questions on risk factors relating to Alzheimer's disease and about their sleeping habits. The participants also perform different cognitive tests and get different types of images taken of their brains in an MRI scanner. We are going to use this data to ascertain what factors might predict the combination of factors that memory and cognitive problems in the future. We will use the different brain images to create models of brain networks with The Virtual Brain platform to customize the model to an individual's data. This will help us understand what's going on inside the brain that might make them resilient to dementia.

What are you particularly enjoying about your studies/research at SFU? 

I am really enjoying that I get to learn about topics that I am genuinely interested in while being able to work independently in a cordial environment or as a team alongside my peers, who I have come to call my friends.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?

If you are a student interested in research, I would recommend getting involved in a research lab that resonates with your interests as early in your academic career as possible. Never be afraid to ask questions and build a personable relationship with your supervisor. I think it is always good to be open to new things and explore new directions, so also make efforts to branch out of your niche and connect with new people to gain diverse research experience.