“I love the lab environment: you are surrounded by people that love the same area that you do!”
Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Lauren Ehrlich, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
Briefly describe your research project.
T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia/lymphoma is a type of cancer that results from abnormalities in T-cell development. We hypothesize that defects in developing T-cells lead to abnormal interactions with thymic stromal cells, thus promoting stromal alterations that reciprocally support lymphomagenesis. Using immunofluorescent stains and a lymphoma-prone mouse model, I have tried to characterize the thymic stromal architecture and thymic stromal cells.
What was the most rewarding part of your research experience?
I love the lab environment: you are surrounded by people that love the same area that you do! You can talk to other people in the lab, and always learn something new!
How has participating in research affected your undergraduate experience?
Doing research has exposed me to current debates in the field of immunology, and that’s really cool. Seeing those debates and comparing them to what I have learned in class is definitely an interesting way to get you to think about that topic differently. Science is not static, but rather, ever evolving. Doing research has made me think about what we don’t know and what’s not stated in classes, and that’s where all the fun is!
What surprised you during the research process?
Research involves a lot of trouble-shooting and patience. However, reaping the rewards of discovery makes all the trouble worth it.
Do you think getting involved in research will be helpful to you in the future? If so, how?
Yes! My research experiences have taught me different things: how to think analytically, how to be patient, but most importantly, how to work with others to complete a large project that requires different technical backgrounds.
What advice would you give to incoming and current students about getting involved in research?
First: don’t be afraid to approach professors. They are always interested in working with students that are interested in research. Second: the earlier you can start, the better. Good science can take a long time to complete, and being there as the project progresses helps you learn so much. Third (and most importantly): be passionate about what you do! Science can be hard work, so you might as well like what you do!
Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place April 15-19 this year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events. To celebrate undergraduate research and creative activity, we’re highlighting five profiles of student researchers.