Neha Narayan

Neha Narayan is a recent graduate from Salem High School, in Canton, Michigan. She plans to major in biomedical engineering and minor in psychology at Columbia University.

Neha is passionate about research and using science to help others. In 2017, she began developing a graphene water filtration system using solely sand and sugar that removes over 99% of lethal heavy metals from polluted water. Because the synthesis of this filter was developed to be non-labor intensive and use abundant and renewable materials, her end goal is for people in developing countries to make this device for themselves. She presented her work at the Science and Engineering Fair of Metro Detroit and was selected to be a finalist at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in 2019.

In 2018, at a Brown University summer program, she was introduced to cancer biology and conducted a research project on the Warburg Effect. That year, she also won first place in Biomedical Laboratory Sciences at the International HOSA-Future Health Professionals conference. It was through these two experiences that she became interested in medical research. In 2019, she started working in a muscle Neuromuscular Regenerative Rehabilitation lab at Wayne State University, where she designed a robotic dynamometer that assessed skeletal muscle contractile function and performed plyometric exercise on mice. This device will be used to study and develop treatments for muscular dystrophies and other neuromuscular disorders. She first-authored an abstract for this project, and it was accepted for the 2020 Experimental Biology Conference with the American Physiological Society and published in the FASEB Journal.

Since her freshman year, Neha has been a part of miRcore, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that is working to democratize medical research. Through this organization, she has studied numerous diseases and researched their genetic causes using tools such as UCSC Genome Browser and NCBI patient datasets to find potential cures to these ailments. During the summer, she has worked as a teaching assistant for miRcore camps, helping high school students learn topics in computational biology, biotechnology, and R programming. She was also president of miRcore’s school chapter, named GIDAS (Genes in Diseases and Symptoms), where she taught students about the diseases of focus, computational biology, and abstract writing, in addition to organizing multiple fundraisers.

Outside of her research, Neha is very passionate about singing. She was a part of the University of Michigan’s Chamber Singers choir for four years and has also sung Carnatic (Indian classical) music for ten years. She was a part of her school’s varsity debate and Science Olympiad teams, and served as captain of the Science Olympiad team her senior year. She also played varsity tennis for four years and was captain her senior year. In her free time, Neha enjoys baking, hiking, and watching psychological thrillers.