Medical Student Abhishek Dharan Shares His Research Vision at TEDx El Paso

Abhishek Dharan

Abhishek Dharan

For Abhishek Dharan, a member of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s class of 2022, research on blindness and visual impairment isn’t just a project. It’s personal.

His grandfather suffered from cataracts, and regaining his vision improved his quality of life.

Dharan touched on his journey through this research and his family’s role in it during his Oct. 12 TEDx El Paso presentation, “The Vision of Our Family is a Vision for Our Community.”

TEDx events feature short talks, demonstrations and performances designed to foster learning and inspiration, and provoke conversations on a variety of topics.

In 2018, Dharan received a $10,000 grant from the TEDx El Paso Innovators Program – the first grant offered through the program – to investigate how many El Pasoans are blind or visually impaired and how their conditions can be treated by modern medicine.

Dharan’s goal is to raise awareness about preventable blindness and motivate community leaders to invest in ways for El Pasoans to recover their sight.

“One of the things I’m going to ask you all to do between now and TEDx next year is to go out and think: What do you appreciate? What is it that you really enjoy when you’re in daily life?” Dharan told the audience. “If you were to lose your vision today, and it were to come back in a year, what would be the first thing you’d want to see?

“What I’m doing for my research project as a medical student here is, I’m asking that question,” he said. “I’m going to these communities in El Paso, working with local doctors, and I’m getting them to have their patients say what they find interesting once they get their vision back from surgery.”

Dharan is the second person from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso to present at a TEDx El Paso event.

Peter Rotwein, M.D., vice president for research at TTUHSC El Paso, spoke at TEDx El Paso in 2018. Dr. Rotwein’s presentation, “Through the Looking Glass: Reading Our Future from Our Genetic Past,” is available on YouTube at this link.