Nicholas Pasternack

Nicholas Pasternack
Mentor: Dr. Nikolaus McFarland
College of Medicine
"I have always enjoyed solving puzzles and studying science. In high school, I became specifically interested in studying the brain and becoming a medical doctor. Combining these interests, I started neuroscience research at a lab in the McKnight Brain Institute the summer before my freshman year at UF. In fact, I continue to study and research neuroscience. I find clinical neuroscience research especially satisfying as solving these problems can have direct, positive outcomes for patients with serious neurological diseases."


Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience



Research Interests

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Psychology

Academic Awards

  • University Scholars Program
  • HHMI Intramural and Extramural Awards
  • Dean's List
  • National Merit Finalist
  • AP Scholar with Distinction


  • Student Magician's Club
  • Honors Without Borders
  • Center for Undergraduate Research Board of Students (CURBS)


  • Volunteer Magic Performances at Shands Hospital
  • Footprints Bone Marrow Drive
  • JDRF Fundraisers

Hobbies and Interests

  • Magic/Mental Magic
  • Martial Arts (Judo and Tae Kwon Do)
  • Computer Programming
  • Playing Guitar/Bass Guitar

Research Description

Determining the Effects of Rab Proteins in Parkinson's Disease

In this study we plan to elucidate the effects of Rab proteins on alpha-synuclein aggregation and accumulation in an established transgenic mouse model of Parkinsonism. Our hypothesis is that the overexpression of specific Rab proteins in these mice will prevent alpha-synuclein buildup and aggregate formation. This study is an important first step in testing whether specific Rab proteins can prevent development of alpha-synuclein pathology in an established mouse model of Parkinsonism.