Previous Institution: University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
I am a 22-year old student from Huntington Beach, California. As an undergraduate at UCLA, I first got involved in research in the lab of Dr. David Krantz, studying the vesicular monoamine transporter in the nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster. Through my coursework in the department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, I became really excited about the prospect of researching neural development, and how such studies could shed light on disorders we have yet to understand the genetic basis of. At UCLA, I took a two-term seminar only for students in my major conducting individual research projects, to hone our skills at presenting our research to an academic audience, writing journal-standard reports, and presenting a scientific poster.
I took a seminar on mouse genetics and decided that I wanted to be exposed to more than just reading papers on such research, but to actually participate in my own mouse research, so I applied to a summer studentship offered by Imperial College London Medical Research Council Clinical Sciences Centre. I spent 8 weeks as a lab member in London investigating the Transcriptional Start Site for three microRNAs implicated in the onset of Type II Diabetes in mouse and human pancreatic islet cells.
In my last year of coursework at UCLA, I took a Stem Cell Biology class at UCLA only offered to students who have completed all of the required classes for my major, and studied in-depth about the state-of-the-art uses of pluripotent stem cells for research and regenerative medicine, as well as the origin of stem cells and how they develop into various tissue types. I am very excited to apply this knowledge to my research focuses at Columbia, and for my coursework and bench experience to further inspire my passion for the intersections of genetics, neuroscience, and developmental biology.