ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT | AUGUST 2015
KU major: Biology; Class of 2003
Current occupation: Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles
Research Mentors: Dr. Susan M. Egan, Dr. Ana Kolin, Visnja Jevtic
Q: Describe the undergraduate research/creative experience that you had while at KU:
A: During my undergraduate studies at the University of Kansas, I conducted research with Dr. Susan Egan on regulation of gene expression in E.Coli. The ultimate goal of Dr. Egan’s laboratory is to identify small molecule inhibitors of transcriptional activators that can serve as anti-bacterial agents.
Q: What do you think was the most important thing you learned while doing undergraduate research?
A: Through my undergraduate research, I realized that I want to pursue a scientific career. This led me to my decision to pursue PhD studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Q: What advice do you have for undergraduates who might be interested in doing research or creative scholarship?
A: Go over the research of all faculty members. Approach all faculty members whose research projects trigger your interest.
Q: Do you use any of the skills or perspectives gained doing research in your current occupation? How so?
A: Yes, absolutely. I was first exposed to a scientific project in Dr. Egan’s laboratory at the University of Kansas. Through my interaction with Dr. Egan, I learned how to approach a scientific question, how to design experiments to address it and how to present my research. I gained knowledge in transcriptional regulation. I also learned basic techniques such as cloning and mutagenesis, which I still use.
Q: Many undergraduate researchers are making decisions about what to do after they graduate from KU. Having been in those shoes, what do you know now that you wish you’d known then? Do you have any advice?
A: If I knew what I know now, I would still choose the University of Kansas to begin my research career. My personal advice is: interact with faculty members, ask questions and share your interests. Be involved in as many research projects as possible. Having the opportunity to be a part of a scientific project in Dr. Egan’s laboratory, I discovered my passion for science.