Daniel Dykes first got interested in neuroscience as he watched doctors on the fictional TV program “House.” Now he’s studying the topic at UAF and plans to eventually earn both a doctorate and a medical degree.
At North Pole High School, Dykes said, he made a “dumb mistake” and got suspended. He enrolled in an alternative program and regained eligibility to attend the school, but he decided not to.
“I was already taking all my classes online,” he said. “So I was like ‘I might as well just go here and finish my school up early so I have time to work and save up for college.’”
Through the alternative program, he met a UAF admissions counselor.
“She told me all of the scholarships that I’d be getting and the research opportunities that I could do here,” he said.
Dykes secured a scholarship with the Biomedical Learning and Student Training program. Through it, he receives tuition and a stipend, and he participates in two research labs.
In one lab, he’s helping study obsessive-compulsive disorder by collecting data on mice that are bred to exhibit such behavior. “We’re testing the effects of social isolation on mice that have OCD,” he said.
In the other lab, he’s helping with studies related to HIV-associated neurocognitive disorder, which can cause people living with the human immunodeficiency virus to have trouble with memory and learning.
“It is some cool stuff,” Dykes said. “UAF has got some great research going on for neuroscience.”