Undergraduate Researcher Profile: Tanisha Martheswaran

Tanisha Martheswaran


Tanisha Martheswaran is a junior studying Human Developmental and Regenerative Biology. She works under the mentorship of Dr. Benowitz at the Boston Children’s Hospital on investigating the role of intraocular zinc chelation on microglial activation following optic neuropathy.

Student's perspective:

I have been a student researcher at the Benowitz Lab in the Department of Neurosurgery at Boston Children’s Hospital since September 2018. My research surrounds the neurodegenerative mechanisms following optic nerve injury, which is seen in patients with glaucoma, optic neuritis, or traumatic injury, all of which can lead to blindness. More specifically, I study zinc-mediated immunoregulation of retinal ganglion cell survival, microglial activation, and axonal regeneration after injury. By gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms that lead to vision loss following injury, we may potentially apply our findings to develop therapeutics that halt disease progression, with the ultimate goal of preventing blindness.

Through my time in the lab, I’ve gained a strong interest in studying diseases that cause blindness, which has inspired me to pursue both clinical research in ophthalmology, as well as stem cell research for retinal disease therapeutics. Following graduation, I hope to combine my interests in research, ophthalmology, and teaching through pursuing an MD-PhD, with which I hope to innovate regenerative therapeutics for blindness, create relationships with patients across the world, and serve as an educator in the field of medicine. I’d like to extend my appreciation towards my mentor Dr. Kimberly Wong, my PI Dr. Larry Benowitz, and my fellow research scientists at the lab for instilling in me a lifelong love for vision science, and more profoundly, for scientific investigation.