Growing up, Darshana Tuladhar was always curious about the human mind and how it worked. She put her curiosity to good use as an undergraduate researcher at the University of Rochester where she examined the effects of word frequency and response time. Since earning her B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Science, her research in the field of cognitive psychology has been diverse, ranging from sleep research to her current research at the University of Pittsburgh. Her interest in clinical populations started at Cornell University in the Laboratory for the Neuroscience of Autism while earning her master’s degree. It is here where she explored cognitive differences in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). While working with Dr. Matthew Belmonte, she tested theories such as Weak Central Coherence and Theory of Mind in individuals with autism. Currently, she is a PhD graduate student in cognitive psychology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is working with Dr. Julie Fiez investigating memory and learning. Specifically, she is examining the role of the basal ganglia and hippocampus in implicit and explicit memory. Recently, she has branched out her research by also investigating the difference in memory in individuals with Parkinson’s disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment.
It is through working at different laboratories that she is able to clearly see that she would like her career to move towards exclusively researching clinical populations. Ultimately, she would like to contribute to the overall knowledge within these special populations through research. She is confident that the LEND program will enable her to transition from basic science research into clinical research and treatment development.
Her awards include being the recipient of the Ezra H. Hale Scholarship (2006-2007) at the University of Rochester. In 2010 she was a recipient of the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.