Faraj is a PhD candidate at the Schmid lab. He started at the Schmid Lab as part of a summer work study program, which introduced him to the field of rodent behavioral neuroscience. Enjoying this newfound passion, he opted into an undergraduate thesis and eventually decided to pursue graduate studies at the Schmid lab. His project centers around investigating environmental causes of neurodevelopmental disorders. More specifically, he is interested in the contribution of maternal infection —and the ensuing immune response—during pregnancy to abnormal brain development, which is implicated in disorders like schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorder. To model immune activation during pregnancy, he utilizes the polyinosinic-polycytidylic (poly I:C) model and investigates sensory filtering and sensory processing phenotypes in offspring that were exposed to poly I:C-induced immune activation in utero. In addition to his main project, Faraj is interested in designing novel behaviors in the Bussey-Saksida touch screen systems.
Outside of the lab (or sometimes even inside the lab while waiting for dreadfully long experiments), Faraj loves to play computer games and follow eSports. In order to keep his health from deteriorating because of long and emotionally intense gaming or streaming hours, he decided to take up swimming and loves going to the university pool for some exercise. In his free time, Faraj is an avid baker and plans to casually