Honors seniors graduate with eight publications drawing attention to Alzheimer's Disease

Hind Al Khashali and Ravel Ray in the lab

YPSILANTI — As they approach their graduation from Eastern Michigan University, senior neuroscience majors and presidential scholars Ravel Ray and Hind Al Khashali take satisfaction in having made significant contributions to the field of neuroscience through their participation in undergraduate research at EMU. Their research focuses on Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and provides insight into how anti-cancer treatments modify the risk for AD and assist in developing future therapeutic approaches for the prevention and treatment of both cancer and AD.

Ray has been a co-author on eight articles published in peer-reviewed national research journals and anticipates publishing one more in March. He has a passion for helping others and wants to play a part in searching for medical cures. Ray has enjoyed the research opportunities that he has had working in the Cellular and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry lab (CMBB) with Dr. Hedeel Evans, professor of chemistry and co-director of the EMU interdisciplinary neuroscience program. 

“Being able to participate in high-level research as an undergraduate student is rare, so I am grateful for the opportunity to partake in that,” states Ray. “When I was invited to join Dr. Evans’ lab, I was excited because cancer research is such a broad and important area of research.”

Al Khashali has also published eight articles in national research journals and is currently working on one more with Evans’ research team. Prior to enrolling at EMU, Al Khashali had no experience in research. Working alongside supportive faculty and peers has allowed her to grow as a researcher and scientist. She attributes much of her success to Dr. Evans.

“Thanks to Dr. Evans' continuous support, I have been able to excel as a researcher. 

My time at the CMBB will help me tremendously post-graduation, as I plan to attend medical school, where I hope to continue my journey in research,” said Al Khashali. 

Dr. Evans’ has served as a mentor to Al Khashali and Ray since the middle of their freshman year. When other students are struggling in the lab, she now sends them to the duo for advice. 

“Hind and Ravel are straightforward, curious, and have a tremendous desire and ability to learn. They can perform many assays within a short period and the data is reliable and reproducible greater than 90-95% of the time. They both have mastered a multitude of techniques in the laboratory with an ability to troubleshoot carefully and systematically. They take the initiative in reading numerous articles to help design future experiments for their research and display an undeniable genuine passion for learning.” These personal characteristics enabled Ravel and Hind to secure eight peer-reviewed publications, an unusual accomplishment for undergraduate students, especially in a primarily undergraduate institution. 

Dr. Evans emphasizes the urgency and importance of the research that she and the students in her lab are conducting, as there is currently no effective treatment available for AD. 

“Some evidence suggests that people diagnosed with AD have a decreased risk for cancer and that those who survive cancer have a decreased risk for AD. Therefore, innovative, paradigm-shifting views of the etiology of both cancer and AD are needed to enable their prevention and timely treatment,” stated Dr. Evans. 


About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 13,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

March 27, 2024

Written by:
Brooke Whittaker

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher