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Jackson Powell
Jackson Powell
Undergraduate Student

Jackson Powell is an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania currently majoring in Biochemistry and Biology in the Vagelos Molecular Life Sciences program. He studies neuron regeneration and mechanosensation in the Song Lab with the long-term goal of becoming a neurosurgeon.



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Jackson Powell’s lifelong goal is to become a neurosurgeon; however, he greatly enjoys research and thinks becoming the best possible doctor requires a strong research background, as he hope to both treat patients and contribute to developing new surgeries and therapeutics.

Powell’s first research experience was at the Young Scholars Program in the Roktya Venom Lab at Florida State University, where he studied the evolution of venom, specifically, the Dolomedes triton and the effectiveness of their venom on local and foreign prey items. He then spent time in the Lenhert Research Group studying lipid nanotechnology.

Powell joined the Song Lab after coming to the University of Pennsylvania. His current research projects focus on neuron regeneration and mechanosensation.

Solving the mystery of neuron regeneration will help recovery from neurotrauma and neurodegenerative diseases. Powell’s regeneration project focuses on neuron-glia interactions after neuron injury, and the fascinating ways glia control the ability of neurons to regrow. He is investigating the curious manipulation of ion channels, and how glia cells are be able to affect their expression and activation.

Mechanosensation plays a striking role in many different cells. Mechanosensitive ion channels control both external physical sensation and many internal processes, including neuron regeneration, transduction from cochlea cells, sensing blood flow, and much more. Powell is studying how Drosophila are able to differentiate the stiffnesses of different substrates and the long-term aim is to understand how they compute between different stimuli such as physical vs gustatory stimuli.

Outside of the lab, Powell enjoys helping run Science Olympiad at Penn, and trying to draw and write.