Undergraduate Research Program

Katherine Brower

Brower, Katherine

Mentor: Brian Wasko, Pathology

Contact: kbrower@uw.edu

Current research project: Effects of Iron Dyshomeostasis on the Vascular ATPase



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
As humans age, the chance of developing diseases such as cancer and heart disease increases. By examining aging at the genetic level, it may be possible to eliminate the effects of aging and lower the chance of developing age related diseases. To do this, my research utilizes Saccharomyces cerevisiae, yeast and determines the effect of the types of nutrients available such as vitamins and metals. I am specifically looking at the genes and metals such as iron, zinc, and manganese, that affect the protein Vacuolar ATPase due to it’s importance in regulating cell death and removing misfolded proteins. Vacuolar ATPase is important in the study of aging because as a cell becomes older, this enzyme’s function decreases.


What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
The most rewarding aspect of my undergraduate research experience has been the community I have become involved in within the lab. As a transfer student, I was worried about finding a group of students that I could truly belong to. However, after joining the research lab, I began to have a stronger sense of belonging to UW and created lasting memories, friends, and developed stronger professional skills. From personal experience, another benefit is that you can find your partner.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
I would highly recommend that anyone interested in becoming involved in undergraduate research should pursue it. Although it may be daunting, participating in a research lab is a great character building and enjoyable experience.