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2009 Soar Student
"This was my first opportunity to conduct my own scientific research. The hands-on experience helped me develop valuable critical-thinking skills beyond what is possible in a classroom or even in a class-related laboratory."
Hometown: Bethlehem, PA
Major(s): Biology, Chemistry (minor)
Project: Plasmid Transformation of Drosophila melanogaster
Faculty Advisor: Christopher Jones, associate professor of biological sciences
Goal: Test new gene transfer methods for the common fruit fly, an organism used widely in modern genetic research. The gene transfer methods now used are tedious, expensive, and/or have a low rate of success. Finding a better method for stable gene transfer would allow other genetic researchers to experiment more frequently and more efficiently.
What I learned: Although I did not find an alternate gene transfer method, I became familiar with a variety of lab techniques and equipment (such as gel electrophoresis, autoclaving, and UV spectrometry), which will be valuable to me in the future. Gaining research experience as an undergraduate has given me a better idea of what direction to go when applying for graduate school.
Future: Research science; I hope to enroll in a graduate school Ph.D. program in ecology or evolutionary biology; I’m also interested in neuroscience, physiology, and medicine.