Recent graduate Jhanvi Mehta (BSc ’21) is spending her last summer at the U of L researching the effects of high cannabidiol (CBD) cannabis on improving recovery after stroke—a project she has been working on for most of her undergraduate degree.

Jhanvi is the recipient of the Gold Medal in Science and is a shining graduate in the Department of Neuroscience. This summer, her work is supported with an Alberta Innovates Summer Studentship award.

Working with graduate student Claire Niehaus (BSc ’19) in Dr. Robbin Gibb’s lab, Jhanvi’s project focuses on assessing the effects of high-CBD cannabis use following a surgically-induced stroke in the motor cortex of a rodent. Jhanvi assists during the lesion surgery and assesses the animal’s recovery of motor function following the medically induced stroke.

At the end of the summer, Jhanvi hopes to present her research and findings at the Undergraduate Neuroscience Conference of Alberta, which provides her with an opportunity to disseminate her research and broaden her knowledge in the field, as well as connecting and exchanging ideas with her peers.

Strokes are the third leading cause of death in Canada, and Jhanvi notes that with a significant number of people in Canada reaching vulnerable ages, the number of people living with the effects of having suffered a stroke are expected to increase in the coming years.

This project may open an avenue to cost-effective, natural, and preventative medicines that help this vulnerable population and ease the burden of patients, their caregivers, and the healthcare system overall. I'm passionate about this research because of the potential it has to improve the quality of life for patients.

The skills that Jhanvi has learned through conducting research at the U of L has taught her to be more detail-oriented and organized, and she adds that it has made her more analytical as a result.

Jhanvi says that her experience with this project has been incredibly valuable in her post-secondary education, as it has allowed her to present her research at conference, earn research grants, and learn critical thinking and laboratory skills.

I love the connections you get to make with other experts in the field. I've gotten to know my professors and fellow researchers pretty well and have learned so much from their mentorship and guidance. I think these kinds of close connections would be harder to achieve at larger institutions, so I'm grateful the U of L allows me to build those relationships.

Now an alumna of the university, Jhanvi’s next step will take her to the University of Alberta, where she will begin medical school in the fall.