Learning science has always been one of my deepest passions, and I am always very excited about the constant sense of discovery, no matter how small, that research brings. I am truly glad to be able to finally put into practice some of the ideas and concepts that have been learned, and use them to solve problems. Specifically, my genuine interest is to understand molecular mechanisms and pathways that drive diseases, as well as immune responses against infections.
I am honored to be following my passion for immunology through research in the Aballay laboratory. The Aballay lab uses Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) as models for understanding host-pathogen interactions. Through genetic and functional genomic techniques, the lab also highlights the role of the nervous system in the regulation of innate immune response. My research project focuses on identifying genes and understanding the neural mechanisms in C. elegans mutants that are either more susceptible or resistant to pathogenic infections. Through this project, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between the nervous system and the immune system. Understanding innate immune response in C. elegans may also help to provide some insight into aspects of immunity in mammals, especially humans.
As I engage in research this summer, I seek to learn essential scientific techniques and genetic methodologies that would not only be beneficial in the rest of my undergraduate studies, but in my prospective future career. Through effective mentoring and the passion for learning, I seek to be challenged and encouraged to think differently in proposing answers of my own. I realize that this journey may pose several frustrations and failures, but I expect to learn from these challenges. Additionally, I hope to enhance my learning experience through the social aspect of research by interacting with my mentors, other lab personnel, and my co-fellows. Through these relationships, I will gain more experience interacting in the scientific community in both formal and informal settings.
Above all, I hope that at the end of this quest, I am able to better understand the connections between basic science research and medicine. As I develop a deeper understanding of the relationship between the nervous and immune systems, I desire to gain fundamental knowledge about the behavior and nature of living organisms. The application of that knowledge may be used to further enhance health, lengthen life, and someday help to reduce the burdens of illness and disability.