Nicholas Hargus

Double Hoo Award Inspires Collaboration

Nicholas Hargus (College ’12)

By any standard, Nicholas Hargus is a successful graduate student with a bright future as a neuroscientist. Working with Assistant Professor Manoj Patel in the Department of Anesthesiology, he has already been lead author on a paper exploring molecular mechanisms that contribute to temporal lobe epilepsy and coauthored several more.

But it takes more than inspiration and dedication to build a successful career in research. Scientific research is a group endeavor, and researchers must be able to motivate, inspire, and mentor others. That’s why Hargus is so excited about being named a 2010 Double Hoo award winner. The award provides $5,000 to fund a one-year research project designed and carried out by a pair of graduate and undergraduate students.

With Aradhya Nigam, a second-year neuroscience major, Hargus will investigate the role of T-Type calcium channels in temporal lobe epilepsy. “When I become a post-doc, it will be my responsibility to direct projects” he said. “The Double Hoo Award will give me experience doing just that.”

Writing the proposal was the first step of the award process. Hargus worked on his idea for the project, enlisted Nigam, and wrote the first draft as they reviewed the existing literature and chose an approach. Once the project is under way, it will be Hargus’s job to ensure that Nigam has the knowledge he needs to complete his portion of the research and to oversee his efforts.

Nigam has set his sights on qualifying for an MD/PhD program, so he jumped at the chance to be part of the Double Hoo team, seeing it as a way to learn more about his epilepsy and, he hopes, produce publishable results.

While Patel will be available to serve as a sounding board, Hargus will keep the project on track. “The kind of hands-on experience Nick will gain as a result of Double Hoo Award is invaluable at this stage his career,” Patel says. “There are few universities where he could get this kind of experience as a graduate student.”