Student Profile: Danish Hasan

ECU undergraduate researcher Danish Hasan is examining new treatment possibilities for common oral ailments.

Major: Biology

Mentor: Dr. Ramiro Murata

Department: Department of Foundational Sciences, School of Dental Medicine

Project Title: “Anti-Fungal Properties of Berberine Chloride on Candida spp.”

Danish’s research project is working to test Berberine Chloride as a potential anti-fungal agent for Candida spp. Candida is a kind of fungus that rapidly grows in the mouths of patients with a low immune system; this is called oral Candidiasis. The current treatment isn’t viable as Candida is becoming more and more resistant to it.

How did you get involved in undergraduate research?

I got involved my freshman year as I emailed Dr. Murata to see if he needed any undergraduate research students. He just started his lab at the time and was in need of students, so I was one of the first to start in his lab.

Why did you choose your research topic?

My research topic related to other fields that Dr. Murata was working on and I found interest in it. It is a very relevant real-life research topics that can affect our everyday lives.

What’s been your favorite part of conducting undergraduate research?

My favorite part of doing undergraduate level research is that it applies to real-world science. Lectures and lab can teach you the fundamentals of the science field, however research labs show us what people with jobs in those fields are doing. 

What challenges have you faced while conducting undergraduate research?

One of the biggest challenges has been managing school work with time I devote to research. So, in order to combat that challenge, I started going to my research lab on the weekends. This works out a lot better overall as some of my experiments take up to six hours and there’s no way I can do that on a weekday.

Why is your research important for the general public?

My research is important to the everyday person as diseases and treatments weakening our immune system are becoming more common. Oral Candidiasis is one of the most frequent fungal infections in humans. A new viable treatment option is essential for this condition.

What’s your ultimate goal or accomplishment that you hope your research will help you achieve?

The ultimate goal is to determine whether or not Berberine Chloride is a viable treatment option. It has shown anti-fungal as well as anti-bacterial properties according to literature and my own research showing that it has the potential to provide an effective treatment.

Do you have any advice for other students interested in conducting undergraduate research?

Students wanting to conduct undergraduate research shouldn’t be afraid to ask their professors for these opportunities. If you are really interested in the topic and don’t mind setting aside several hours to research a week, then there is no reason not to ask.