Neuroscience Student Inspires IUPUI with Research

Darryl Watkins | Undergraduate | Neuroscience


(Update: Watkins is now a second year Ph.D. student in Medical Neuroscience at IU School of Medicine.)

For Darryl Watkins, a senior neuroscience major, being a non-traditional (slightly older) student does not mean missing out on any part of the IUPUI experience. Growing up in a single-parent home, “education was never really a priority for most of my family,” Watkins says.

Heavily involved in research, Watkins has excelled at IUPUI and was recently featured in the #InspireIUPUI campaign.

As a recipient of the Diversity Scholars Research Program scholarship and Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program grant, Darryl participates in research with Feng C. Zhou, Ph.D., in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Indiana University School of Medicine. This opportunity has allowed Watkins the chance to create and run his own research project studying fetal alcohol syndrome in mice with the guidance of Zhou.

“From conception, to planning, to the pitfalls, analyzing the data, and now writing the manuscript, I have been the only person on this project,” he said. “I believe it is this experience that has driven me to pursue a career in research. I continue because I truly believe this research will contribute to a much bigger story. Although this contribution may be small, it is nevertheless important.”

Watkin’s abstract for the research in Zhou’s lab, “Radiation Alters Epigenetic Programming in Young Adult Mice,” was selected for an oral presentation at the 2014 Louis Stokes Midwest Center for Excellence (LSMCE) conference, Roadmap to Action: LSAMP Model for Broadening Participation. As one of the top three submissions, Darryl received a monetary award to cover his travel expenses to the conference, October 25-26, 2014, in Chicago, IL. In addition, Watkins received Best Oral Presentation, Indiana University Undergraduate Research Conference 2014, for his research.

Watkins encourages others to pursue their goals even if they seem out of reach at the time: “You can do it. I know this from experience now and all you have to do is believe you can do it.”