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Marilyn Barragan

Student Spotlight | November 2017

Major: Cellular, Molecular, and Developmental Biology

Describe your work in a few sentences that we can all understand: I'm working with Drosophila to better understand how transposable elements are transmitted through generations. Previously, I worked in a bioengineering lab at KU. Additionally, through summer research programs I have had the opportunity to also do research in the fields of immunology and stem cell biology.





Q: Who mentors your project?

A:    Currently, my mentor is Justin Blumenstiel. But previously I worked with Dr. Detamore until he took a position at a different institution.


Q: What surprised you about doing research?

A:  I was surprised and inspired by how much knowledge we are still gaining everyday and how better understanding through research can help us develop solutions to a wide range of issues.     


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: The learning curve joining a lab or before joining a lab can be intimidating. When I first thought about doing research, I remember reading journal articles and thinking "will I ever be able to understand this?". My advice to other students who experience this same insecurity is to not be discouraged. Every expert you know once did not know a single thing about their field. Resilience is a skill you will gain as a researcher, so keep trying, keep learning.


Q: What do you like most about your project?

A:  Right now, it's enjoyable to be working more independently than when I first started.


Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?

A: My advice would be to dive in. Find a faculty member who is in your field of interest, maybe a professor who teaches a class you're in or one who works on a topic you're curious about. There are so many different labs to do research in and finding the right lab that fosters an inclusive community and values your contributions is important. 


Q: How do you spend your time when you're not working on your research?

A: I'm really close with my family and live close to home so I visit them often. I also enjoy reading about current events and I'm involved in a few other organizations on campus such as Student Senate.


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