Tuesday, August 9, 2016

URSP Student Highlights: Matthew Eiman

What’s up Mason Nation! I am Matthew Eiman and I am a junior, neuroscience major from Altoona, PA. I am currently researching the relationship between sleep efficiency and cognitive performance in collaboration with Dr. Ali Weinstein and the wonderful staff of the Center for Study of Chronic Illness and Disability (CCID).

We spend roughly 1/3 of our life sleeping. It is such an integral and paramount part of our lives, but often, it can be neglected. Recent research has explored the deleterious effects insufficient sleep can have on one’s health. I’m taking a little different approach when it comes to sleep. I am using a sleep efficiency algorithm calculated by an Actigraphy accelerometer (something like a FitBit) that participants wore to bed. Sleep efficiency, to me, is a superior measure of just how well somebody rested. Think about how much time you are asleep; and then factor in how long it took you to get to sleep, how many times you woke up, and how many times you had to get out of bed to go to the bathroom, let the dog out, etc. That’s sleep efficiency.

My journey starts about the second month of my freshman year when I was looking to get engaged with undergraduate research. I contacted Dr. Weinstein and she got back to me almost immediately to arrange a meeting. I started helping out a little, but I was mostly getting acquainted with a college-level literature search and finding what interested me. As I progressed through my freshman year, Dr. Weinstein mentioned how she had a project with a plethora of unanalyzed sleep data. Given my interest in sleep, I started working on organizing the data and familiarizing myself with the study. This continued into my sophomore year, but came to a little halt when I participated in a clinical research internship with Inova Fairfax Hospital through HHS 492. Because of OSCAR’s Undergraduate Research Scholars Program, I have been able to pursue this interest of mine that has been literally years in the making, for which I am extremely grateful.

Outside of my research, I am a captain of our club, Men’s Ultimate Frisbee team as well as a member of the Roosevelt@Mason’s Energy and Environment policy group. I also serve as a Peer Research Mentor in the honors freshman writing class Honors 110: Research Methods.

Hail to George Mason!