Student Spotlight: Sean Lydon
Sean Lydon is a first-year in Neuroscience Graduate Program (NGP). The United States Army Veteran’s research interests lie in neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, preclinical indications and disease
progression. He first became interested in this area of study as an undergraduate at Washington University in St. Louis. “Preclinical research in dementia is important because many of the interventions we have now are more effective in the early stages,” Lydon said. “It feels good to be doing research that may ultimately help improve patients’ quality of life, particularly in a disease that impacts so many people.” Lydon’s first rotation is in the lab of Gail Johnson, Ph.D., where the research focus is on the molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration, pathogenic processes in Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and spinal cord injury.
Lydon’s journey to pursue a career in neuroscience research was not direct. In 2011, he enlisted in the United States Army. He served a nine-month tour in Afghanistan the following year. In 2014, he left the armed forces as an E-4 (Specialist) to pursue academia. “My interest shifted. It was scary to make the change, but once you do it the mystery is removed and it becomes easier with time,” Lydon said.
Lydon graduated from Washington University with a B.S. in Psychology and completed a post-baccalaureate program at the University of Pennsylvania. While at the University of Pennsylvania, he also worked as a clinical research coordinator in the Department of Neurology where he managed various research projects including the development of a smartphone-based intervention that targets apathy in patients with frontotemporal dementia, mild cognitive impairment, and Alzheimer’s disease.