How/Why Research: During my first year at Carolina I came to realize the importance of research, and seeing many of my friends find their niche in research sparked my interest to find my own. I wanted to learn the cellular and molecular controls that can affect human health, especially related to Type 2 Diabetes, so I reached out to a few PIs whose research matched my interests and was able to visit a few labs to learn more about their work. I had no prior experience in research but I quickly learned that you don’t have to be extremely knowledgeable about science before talking to a PI – just curious. My advice is to prepare a list of questions about a lab’s work/methods before talking to a PI, always remain open-minded, and step outside your comfort zone!
Research Experience: I started in the Dowen Lab in the spring of my first year at Carolina. We use the microscopic nematode, C. elegans, to study metabolic cell signaling pathways involved in lipid homeostasis due to their genetic similarity to humans. During my first semester in the lab, I worked alongside other undergraduates to learn laboratory techniques such as picking worms under a microscope, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and genetic crossing. Over the course of my second year at Carolina, I took two semesters of BIOL395 which allowed me to develop my own project in the lab. This not only taught me how to write and present scientific work, but it taught me how to step outside my comfort zone and think deeper about the applications of my research. It was an incredibly rewarding experience – and I am excited to continue my work in the Dowen Lab.
Student Organizations/Clubs: UNC Campus EMS, Interfaith Council for Social Services, South Orange Rescue Squad, Buckley Public Service Scholars.
Random Fun Fact: I am one of the stereotypical Marylanders who puts Old Bay seasoning on everything.