Undergraduate Research Program

Caroline Bridgwater

Bridgwater, Caroline
Major: Microbiology
Mentor: Emily Godfrey, Family Medicine; Jennifer Rabbitts, Anesthesia and Pain Medicine; Carla Grandori, SEngine Medicine (ISB)

Contact: cmb20@uw.edu

Current research project: High-throughput Drug Screening on In Vitro Cancer Cells



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
I started in the Department of Family Medicine doing background research for an informational video counseling women on the side effects of the hormonal IUD (an intrauterine birth control method). I then worked on a statistical and qualitative analysis project at Seattle Children’s Research Institute that is helping to create a cognitive-behavioral therapy intervention to reduce pain for children after surgery. Now I work at the Institute for Systems Biology where my lab uses robotic screening technology to test how well certain cancer drugs selectively kill tumor cells in patient biopsies. This information allows our lab to recommend individualized, less-toxic, effective targeted therapies to patients and oncologists.


What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
The most rewarding aspect of undergrad research is exposure. Exposure to great minds, to real-world problems and solutions, and to life in your intended field. I have had the opportunity to work in three very different research environments, which all have helped me to experience different parts of the medical career while making valuable connections with mentors. When learning is restricted to a classroom, you miss these opportunities for exposure to the real-world aspects of your career.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Don’t be afraid just to start somewhere. You don’t have to have a specific plan of what you want to do or research long-term. If you get involved in research in something you are interested in, your experiences will guide you to further opportunities