Zachary Tepper and Sumeet Panesar

panesar and tepper

Zachary Tepper (right), a neuroscience and behavior major from Danbury, Connecticut, says that “working in the lab and performing real experiments has taught me far more about my field of study than I've learned in classroom lectures.” Zach’s research project with Sumeet was suggested by their mentor, Dr. Arturo Andrade, and began with a 2016 Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). Their research has extended beyond their summer work and has become the basis for Zach’s senior thesis for the University Honors Program. In fact, Zach considers his research as still unfinished, but he points out that this is one of the things he learned about the research process: “There will always be more questions to tackle, and they often arise unexpectedly.” After graduating from the University of New Hampshire in May 2017, Zach plans to teach English overseas and then look into attending medical school through the United States armed forces. The “hands-on skills and mental exercises” he learned by studying pain transmission with Sumeet and Dr. Andrade will be valuable in any future endeavor.

Neuroscience major Sumeet Panesar (left), from Hooksett, New Hampshire, realized at the beginning of his research project that there was a lot to learn about pain transmission: “The process is quite complex and there are many mysteries behind the pain-sensing neurons, mysteries we are still trying to uncover.” But with the support of his research partner, Zach, their mentor, Dr. Arturo Andrade, and a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), Sumeet tackled many concepts that aren’t covered in a normal classroom setting. The hands-on experiments in the lab, he says, “helped cement critical ideas within our minds.” His new understandings about the functions in the trigeminal nucleus, which controls pain perception from the neck and head, will be valuable in his future work as a dentist or dental researcher. He hopes that sharing his research through Inquiry will show others “exactly what undergraduates are capable of accomplishing.” Sumeet will graduate from the University of New Hampshire in May 2018.