Heads Up: Neuroscientist Nipun Chopra talking Alzheimer’s and TBI


Post-doctoral fellow Dr. Nipun Chopra (@nipunchopra7) curates Real Scientists this week! He studies the neuroscience of Alzheimer’s and also works on traumatic brain injury (TBI) research. Here he is, in his own words:

Why/How did you end up in science?
My interest in science has been lifelong. Growing up in India, I was initially interested in microbiology – understanding the processes involved in diseases such as malaria and dengue.

Why did you choose your current field/what keeps you there?
My interest switched to neuroscience in high school, after an incident with friends revealed how important homeostatic conditions in the brain are. And, the realization that small changes in those conditions can manifest in disparate phenotypes that could entirely change a person.
In my undergrad, I became interested in Alzheimer’s disease research after taking a class where we learned about the Amyloid beta mystery.
My interest in traumatic brain injury is sourced largely in my passion for sports, particularly soccer.

Tell us about your work?
My PhD dissertation explored the identification of microRNA implicated in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease. We discovered two miRNA which target the amyloid-beta pathway. One of these miRNA also seems to target the Tau pathway.
In my post-doctoral work (AKA for the last 4 months), I am studying the role neuroinflammation plays in the traumatic brain injury and Alzheimer’s disease.

Why should the lay public care about your research/work?
AD and TBI are important considerations for public health. Approximately 6M people suffer from AD in the US, and that incidence is expected to continue to rise. Currently, there are no successful treatments for AD, so understanding the disease better would allow is to generate novel treatments.
TBI is prevalent in sports and motor-vehicle accidents. It has been linked to chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in recent years, and it seems we have only begun to scratch the tip of what is a giant iceberg… hiding beneath the surface.

Do you have any interesting external/extracurricular obligations?
I have been involved in soccer media for about six years. I have been a part of over 400 podcast episodes and written innumerable articles. My work/voice has been featured on BBC Radio, Sirius XM and many other radio channels across the nation.

Any interesting hobbies you’d like to share?
Other than covering soccer, I spend tons of time with my perfect puppy, Octavia. And, I love watching documentaries on religion, war and interesting people.

How would you describe your ideal day off? 
Watching soccer, playing soccer, eating sushi/Indian food and turning off Twitter.


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