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8 GCD students elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Eight Genetics, Cell Biology and Development undergraduates have been elected to membership in Phi Beta Kappa. We asked them about their research experiences and what their plans for the future are.

Kelsey Navis

I worked in Dr. David Largaespada Lab in the Masonic Cancer Center, investigating the role of WAC in Cancer Tumorgenesis

I will be teaching high school science in San Antonio, Texas this fall as a member of Teach for America. I plan to teach for at least a few years before returning to school to become a Physician Assistant. I also hope to travel extensively during my summers off from teaching!

Daniel Wells

I have worked in Dr. Duncan Clarke's lab for the past three semesters studying the topoisomerase II enzyme. I just completed my honors thesis and will graduate summa cum laude this spring. My thesis was entitled "Topoisomerase IIα and its interactions with histone H3 isoforms in human cells."

I have recently accepted an offer to work for the Philadelphia Health Corps, part of the AmeriCorps program, during my gap year before medical school. I will work as a Patient Navigator to help patients enroll in health insurance and other social services. I am applying to schools right now and plan on pursuing a career in primary care.

Hanna Mihalko

I've worked in Dr. Walter Low Lab, Department of Neurosurgery, on a study focused on understanding the mechanisms of non-hematopoietic stem cell therapy for ischemic stroke. I had a study abroad research experience in Ecuador, UMN MSID program, evaluating the integration of Western, Alternative, and Andean Medicine in the Hospital Andino Alternativo de Chimborazo. I also worked in Dr. Stephen Hawley's Lab, Institute on the Environment, on a study of cryopreservation methods for local strands of cyanobacteria.

My plans for after graduation:

  • Working as an AmeriCorps VISTA at the Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center (UROC) in North Minneapolis on their Trauma Recovery Program project
  • Applying to medical school

Suyang Wan

During my study in CBS, I worked in Professor Tony Dean's lab in EEB. I am fascinated by aging and its evolutionary significance. Inspired by theoretical work on bacterial ageing and asymmetric division, I used experimental evolution approach to see if high division asymmetry will be favored by natural selection in stressful environment.

I will start my PhD study in systems biology and evolution at University of Edinburgh this fall, focusing on how cells make decisions in fluctuating environment and the evolution of its mechanisms. After that, I plan to pursue a career in academia, dedicating myself to explore the fundamental principles behind biological complexity.

Chrisana Pokorny

I spent the last year doing research in Dr. Ann Rougvie's lab looking at LIN-42 protein isoforms and their role in Caenorhabditis elegans development, specifically looking at the timing of characteristic developmental events. I wrote my Honors senior thesis on this topic as well. I was also a BIOL 2004 Lab Teaching Assistant for two years.

I have plans to attend medical school in the future.

Jenny Seong

For the last several semesters, I worked with Dr. Michelle Asp and Dr. Joseph Metzger on a project titled: Green Fluorescent Protein membrane localization via Myr, Gag, and PLCbeta1b: Proof-of-concept study for the design of a calcium buffering system at the plasma membrane.

I will be attending medical school at UC Irvine School of Medicine in the fall.

Amy Handlogten

My most recent research was in Dr. David Kirkpatrick's lab here at the U, studying the role of MMS21 and SMC5 in the maintenance of minisatellite stability. I've also done projects in the Visible Heart Lab (also here at the U), at the University of Michigan, and at Mayo Clinic.

I will be starting an MD program at Indiana University School of Medicine this fall.