Samantha Witta

Where did you transfer from?

The University of Montana

Why did you want to come to the University?

I wanted to come to the University of Minnesota for its awesome science program and research opportunities, and it was also closer to home.

What did you research?

I investigated the immune response of human vaginal epithelial cells in reaction to toxic-shock syndrome toxin and the application of peptidoglycan. We also investigated the intracellular pathway involved in the immune response and used immunohistochemistry to characterize the receptors involved. The results have been published in a paper called “Norepinephrine Potentiates Proinflammatory Responses of Human Vaginal Epithelial Cells” in the Journal of Neruroimmunology, and I am named as an author! 

What did you get out of this experience?

Besides the fact that I benefit from having it on my resume, I really learned a lot about how labs work. I have been in many labs in my courses, but the actual atmosphere is really different. I never knew research was so particular to a specific aspect, and that researchers very meticulously focus on a couple things. Also, I have learned things go wrong a lot! Most of the time, it's hard to determine what went wrong. The HHMI lab experience and the lab I currently do research in are very different. To be honest, it has strengthened my aspiration to become a doctor and not go to graduate school. Although I have nothing bad to say about HHMI experience, I found that I need more person-to-person interaction everyday! I also have found out I like working with animals, and some day I hope to do clinical research.

What are your interests outside of school?

I love to snow ski, bike, camp, and spend time with friends and family.

Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?

I plan to volunteer at University of Minnesota Amplatz Children’s Hospital starting this spring! For now I just do research and study.

What are your plans for the future?

I plan to go to medical school. My hope is to start 2014 or 2015. With my remaining time at the University, I plan to continue to do research and hopefully get involved in more volunteer opportunities.

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