Undergraduate Research Program

Kolena Dang


Majors: Biochemistry
Mentor: Maitreya Dunham, Genome Sciences; Elyse Hope, Genome Sciences

Contact: kolenad@uw.edu

Current research project: Determining the Genetic Mechanisms of Cell Aggregation and Surface Sticking in Evolved Strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
This two-part project aims to determine the genetic pathways behind flocculation, an aspect of biofilm formation, and wall-sticking behavior in yeast. The first component involves molecular cloning techniques to identify a mutation in yeast strains responsible for observed flocculation. The second involves other genomic and strain engineering techniques to seek mutations responsible for the observed wall-sticking phenotype.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I became involved in undergraduate research winter quarter of my freshman year by reaching out to Dr. Maitreya Dunham, my lab’s principal investigator. After reading about her lab’s work, I was interested in the subject of genomic evolution and variation in human genetics. I decided to reach out to gain lab experience and learn about the applications of lab research in the medical field, a field which I aspire to join someday.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
It is never too early to become involved in research. Research is a great way to gain professional skills, network, and learn about a discipline you are interested in through first-hand experiences.