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Student Spotlight: Daniel O'Connell '18

Hometown: Cary, North Carolina

Your current research project at Duke: I’m on a Bass Connections team focusing on mTBI in youth athletes. I am concentrating on the role of Smooth Pursuit Eye Movements as part of a diagnostic concussion assessment. Current assessments may not be broad enough or sensitive to detect all injuries. The Smooth Pursuit test in an objective assessment that can analyze vision and oculomotor reflex.

 Thoughts on neuroscience education: I believe the undergraduate neuroscience major is one of the most exciting field of study because it allows students to study the body's most complex organ and how it can effect change throughout the body. I also enjoy learning about the molecular processes of learning and adapting to new environments. Neuroscience offers us insight into how our mind and bodies operate to make us who we are.

 What makes your brain light up?  The remarkable ability of the brain to adapt, whether that be to injury at a young age (synaptic plasticity), new environments, or learning. The brain's ability to form new connections and get rid of old ones is truly remarkable!