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Tavian Sanchez

Class of 2022

I was a neuroscience major researching the aging brain, a residence hall advisor and a student research ambassador. And I could do it all because I’m a Bluejay. At Creighton, I pursued my passions.

Neuroscience, College of Arts and Sciences

I received a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience. Performing research as an undergraduate was always part of my plan. I’m glad to have been at Creighton because the one-on-one relationship you have with a research professor is much better than at a larger school where you are one of 20 undergraduate students in the lab.

My research was directed by Gwen King, who is particularly interested in neurodegenerative diseases and how the brain ages. My interest in this field was spurred when I witnessed my grandmother’s cognitive decline. My goal is to become a physician-scientist who can produce research that has real-world impact by discovering ways to not only treat but also to prevent neurological disease.

As you grow older, you forget little things here and there. While that’s a normal part of an aging brain, it can become much more severe if you develop Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia or neurodegenerative diseases. In our lab, we took a close look at how the klotho protein plays a role in an aging brain by studying mice that produce normal levels of klotho and mice that don’t produce klotho at all. Klotho is not yet known to play a specific therapeutic role necessarily in Alzheimer’s, but many studies show that it may protect against the side effects of various neurodegenerative diseases.

In addition to studying neuroscience, I also received a minor in biology all the while in the honors program. I was able to be a teaching assistant since my sophomore year, and also served as a resident assistant for freshmen in Swanson Hall. I also served on the leadership board of the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (CURAS), where I helped prospective and current students understand their opportunities for undergraduate research.

It was a full schedule, but it’s all possible when you truly enjoy what you’re doing.
— Tavian Sanchez