Arish Mudra Rakshasa-Loots

PhD Researcher, Translational Neuroscience


Arish Mudra Rakshasa-Loots (he/him) is a neuroscientist, educator, and activist. He is currently completing a PhD in Translational Neuroscience at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where his work is funded by the Wellcome Trust and the University of Edinburgh. Arish obtained a BA in Liberal Arts from Earlham College in the US, where he majored in Biochemistry and Neuroscience and minored in Ancient & Classical Studies. His broad undergraduate training lends itself to his versatility as a scholar, with academic publications, conference presentations, and awards in disciplines ranging from computational biophysics to postcolonialism. Arish is a recipient of the prestigious Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, through which he travelled to many different parts of the world to engage with HIV/AIDS healthcare and grassroots activism. Arish’s experiences as a queer brown immigrant in the West have driven his passion for global leadership and his awareness of modern systemic inequalities. He is particularly committed to the eradication of HIV/AIDS, which disproportionately affects marginalised populations such as the LGBTQ+ community. Arish aspires to train the next generation of conscientious, passionate scientists as an educator and lead intergovernmental organisations such as the WHO as a science diplomat in global intersectional campaigns to end the AIDS epidemic.


BA in Liberal Arts: Earlham College, Richmond, IN, USA

Responsibilities & affiliations

British Neuroscience Association (BNA); Federation of European Neuroscience Societies (FENS); Southern African Neuroscience Society (SANS); Phi Beta Kappa; Psi Chi Honor Society for Psychology/Neuroscience; Association for the Coaching & Tutoring Profession (ACTP)

Current research interests

Arish's primary research interests lie at the intersection of HIV/AIDS and mental health. He is particularly interested in the significant burden of mental health issues faced by people living with HIV as we transition from looking for a "cure for AIDS" to managing HIV as a chronic illness.

Past research interests

During his PhD training at Edinburgh, Arish worked with Dr. Emily Sena and Dr. Gill Currie on a systematic review of preclinical modelling of virus-associated peripheral neuropathies, with Dr. Heather Whalley investigating links between inflammation, reward processing, and depression, and with Prof Sharon Prince (University of Cape Town) studying the effects of repurposed drugs on glioblastoma cell viability. In the past, Arish has worked in fields ranging from behavioural neuroscience (with Dr. Michelle Tong) to computational biophysics (with Dr. Michael Lerner) and virology (with Dr. Lindsey McGee), among others.

Affiliated research centres

Papers delivered

Mudra Rakshasa-Loots, A., Khan, S.F., Damerell, V., & Prince, S. (2021). TBX2/TBX3-targeting non-oncological drugs limit glioblastoma cell viability. National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) Festival, virtual.

Mudra Rakshasa, A., Stolicyn, A., Green, C., de Nooij, L., Shen, X., Lawrie, S.M., McIntosh, A.M., Romaniuk, L., & Whalley, H.C. (2021). “Feeling Run Down”: Links Between Inflammation and Disrupted Reward Processing in Depression. British Neuroscience Association (BNA) Festival of Neuroscience, virtual.

Mudra Rakshasa, A., Soliman, N., Sena, E., & Currie, G. (2020). Can’t Feel My Face: A Systematic Review of Whole Animal Models of HIV- and Herpes Zoster-Induced Neuropathic Pain. Southern African Neuroscience Society (SANS) Symposium, virtual.

Mudra Rakshasa, A., & Tong, M.T. (2019). Social Interaction in Mice Mitigates Chronic Stress-Induced Erraticism in Decision-Making. West Coast Biological Sciences Undergraduate Research Conference (WCBSUR), San Diego, CA, USA.

Mudra Rakshasa, A. (2018). Watchdogs and Underdogs: Media Narratives of the 2017-18 Qatar Diplomatic Crisis. Southern California Conferences for Undergraduate Research, Pasadena, CA, USA.

Hedinger, M., Kelner, N., Nguyen, K., Pagan, J., Mudra Rakshasa, A., Rickerman, C., & McGee, L. (2017). The effects of bacteriophage hybridization on host range. Earlham College Annual Research Conference, Richmond, IN, USA.

Earley, C.J., Maxson, P.F., Mudra Rakshasa, A., Carlson, H.A., & Lerner, M.G. (2017). Correlated motions in the DHFR-NADPH complex. Biophysical Society Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, USA.

Chaudhary, A., Khan, K., Mudra Rakshasa, A., & Shrestha, M. (2017). What keeps you younger? A comparison of antioxidant content between blueberry food products. Earlham College Annual Research Conference, Richmond, IN, USA.