Tag: medical research

Mariam Bonyadi Mariam Bonyadi (14 Posts)

Columnist and in-Training Staff Member

University of Illinois College of Medicine


Mariam graduated with a BS in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she conducted undergraduate research in B-cell development and lymphomagenesis as well as the neurobiology of stress. In high school, Mariam spent several years studying mechanisms of induced pluripotency in an embryonic stem cell research lab at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. She now studies computational neuroscience and medicine as part of the Medical Scholars Program (MD/PhD) and the Neuroscience Program (NSP) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Outside of research and clinical experiences, Mariam has earned a black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys yoga and San Diego beaches.

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap focuses on the relationship between basic research and medicine, in order to develop an appreciation for the science that underlies the foundations of modern medicine.




How Belief Influences the Practice of Medicine

While dancing on the line between church and state, the Supreme Court ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby’s decision to not fund contraceptives for its employees drew considerable media attention and controversy. Since the use of contraceptives opposes the religious beliefs of the company leaders, Hobby Lobby employees seeking access to contraceptives must pay for them out of pocket. To better understand the experience of faith that ultimately guided the Hobby Lobby company leaders and in order to “bridge the gap” between science and medicine on the topic of religion, it is important to explore the mechanisms by which widely used religious routines affect our brains.

LSD-Assisted Psychotherapy: Reopening the Doors of Perception

After a nearly 40-year moratorium, a controlled study of the therapeutic use of LSD in humans has been published in The Journal of Neural and Mental Disease after the pioneering work of Swiss psychiatrist Peter Gasser. Sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and approved by the BAG (the Swiss Drug Enforcement Agency), the study has completed treatment of all subjects after having enrolled its first patient in April of 2008. Many hallucinogens, such as psilocybin and MDMA, are being investigated today for their clinical benefits as a result of a gradual effort to reexamine the pharmacologic and psychiatric interests in hallucinogens.

Ebola-Fueled Racism and the Brain

When a Guinean woman was riding the bus in Italy, she was verbally harassed by a young Italian girl who was also a passenger on the bus. The girl was screaming and accusing the Guinean woman of having the Ebola virus. Then, the young girl’s relatives proceeded to assault and beat the woman. Although the victim was taken to the hospital, she sustained injuries from the attack. Race alone, rather than symptom presentation or travel …

Run, Walk, or Diet? Insights into Exercise Science

During the respiration unit of my undergraduate anatomy class, one of my students asked about differences in lung volume, and the effects of “being a runner” versus someone who does not exercise as regularly. While it is widely accepted that regular exercise can improve inspiratory capacity, the diverse impact of exercise on hormone levels and neurogenesis is not discussed as frequently. Exercise science is currently being heavily researched, and an understanding of recent findings can …

25×25 Global Perspectives: Heart Health and Tobacco Use

Public universities are increasingly becoming “smoke-free” campuses, and the city of Melbourne, Australia, has recently entertained the possibility of becoming a “smoke-free” city. Some countries, including New Zealand, have implemented policies towards an “endgame” goal, in which the entire country will eventually become “smoke-free” on the grounds of protecting the health and wellbeing of its people. There clearly exists a divergence between the policy making of some of the globe’s leading first world countries in …

Tactics for Efficient Learning in Med School and the Underlying Neurobiology

The Neurobiology of Learning With residencies becoming increasingly competitive, medical students today find themselves often juggling far more than simply staying on top of their course load. Students are getting involved in more research, mentorship, volunteering and outreach, leaving them with little time to study and master material outside of class. Furthermore, schools are placing a greater emphasis on small-group learning, podcasts and flipped classroom paradigms that put an even greater onus on students to …

Nutrition, Cognition, and Longevity

The world’s oldest person, a 116-year-old Japanese woman, Ms. Misao Okawa, recently shared with the media her secret to a long life: “Eat and sleep and you will live a long time.  This advice is certainly appealing to sushi lovers (Ms. Okawa’s favorite meal!) and those who desire the return of “naptime” in school and the workplace. While the benefits of sleep were discussed in detail in a previous article on Bridging the Gap, the …

When the Brain Says, “I Need More…”

While walking around campus at the beginning of the new semester, it is hard not to notice the sudden appearance of signs instructing us to “Breathe Freely” because the campus is now “Smoke-Free.” The new law has challenged some students and faculty to forego smoking altogether, and has enticed discussion about the regulation of harmful addictive substances, often revealing the social baggage associated with addictive behavior. The duality of alcohol, for example, as both the …

Women, Autoimmune Diseases and the Demographic Transition

The incidence of autoimmune diseases has tripled in the past few decades, and they cost the United States more than $100 billion each year. Additionally, an autoimmune disease typically lasts for the person’s lifetime, and there are no known cures, which further put a major financial burden on the health care system. Current estimates show that 5-8% of people have autoimmune diseases worldwide, and it is estimated that over 23 million Americans suffer from them. …

To Study Harder, or Sleep Longer?

The long lines at coffee shops and large crowds in the library on a university campus often indicate that it is finals week. The disproportionate numbers of students carrying energy drinks and having zombie-like appearances are both dead giveaways as well. While we are stressfully cramming, consuming junk food (“study snacks”), and consequently depriving ourselves of sleep for just a few more hours of studying, how much are we gaining (or losing) from our shift …

Mariam Bonyadi Mariam Bonyadi (14 Posts)

Columnist and in-Training Staff Member

University of Illinois College of Medicine


Mariam graduated with a BS in microbiology, immunology, and molecular genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles, where she conducted undergraduate research in B-cell development and lymphomagenesis as well as the neurobiology of stress. In high school, Mariam spent several years studying mechanisms of induced pluripotency in an embryonic stem cell research lab at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. She now studies computational neuroscience and medicine as part of the Medical Scholars Program (MD/PhD) and the Neuroscience Program (NSP) at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Outside of research and clinical experiences, Mariam has earned a black belt in Taekwondo and enjoys yoga and San Diego beaches.

Bridging the Gap

Bridging the Gap focuses on the relationship between basic research and medicine, in order to develop an appreciation for the science that underlies the foundations of modern medicine.