STUDENT SPOTLIGHT | WINTER 2020-2021
Major: B.S. physics, pre-medicine concentration, & minors in philosophy and Spanish
Describe your research/creative work in just a few sentences that we can all understand: Coronaviruses encode for a protein called a “macrodomain” that works to interrupt cellular defense signals. Our goal is to figure out which parts of the macrodomain are most important for viral proliferation, then to figure out why they are so important, and we hope that these results will set up blueprints for a set of possible antiviral drugs that could then be manufactured and tested.
Q: Who mentors your project?
A: Dr. Anthony Fehr.
Q: What surprised you about doing a larger research or creative project?
A: I was most surprised at how much time goes into reading and understanding other related research papers, probably accounting for 80% of my time. Then 20% of my time was writing my lab proposal, and this semester I’ll actually start my role in this experiment.
Q: What did you find most challenging about getting involved in or doing your project? What advice would you offer to students facing similar challenges?
A: With any new subject there’s a huge learning curve, and your research mentor is going to know that. So my advice would be to feel confident to ask your mentor about anything that you don’t fully understand, even if it’s something really basic.
Q: What do you like most about your project?
A: It feels good to plan something out and take it to fruition, but what I like most is the freedom Dr. Fehr has given me in writing my own hypothesis and deciding which macrodomain mutations are worth creating and testing.
Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?
A: Look up researchers at KU or another institution and ask them about shadowing in their lab. If you land a spot, then try your best to learn as much as you can about their field of study. Worst case scenario: you learned what you could. Best case scenario: you really like it and stick around.
Q: How do you spend your time when you're not working on your research?
A: Outside of research, I’m generally either hanging out with friends or doing other school-related things. My interests are pretty random so there’s not really a specific hobby that I always do.