Undergraduate Research Program

Liesl Strand

Strand, Liesl

Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
Mentor: Celeste Berg, Genome Sciences

Contact: liesl134@uw.edu

Current research project: Exploring the Role of a Novel Growth Factor in Drosophila Development



Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Our lab studies developmental processes involving cell migration and proliferation using the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. In particular, we are interested in the formation of tubes, a process that shares a lot of homology with human development– we are, after all, giant tubes filled with vast networks of smaller tubes. My project focuses on investigating a gene called IDGF6 in order to determine its involvement in the formation of these tubes.

What is the most exciting and/or rewarding aspect of your undergraduate research experience?
Last year, I attended my first scientific meeting at Friday Harbor, WA and, despite feeling rather insignificant compared to people whose posters represented many years of work, my poster was chosen for the “people’s choice” award, which was incredibly exciting! These kinds of conferences have allowed me not only to become more comfortable with presenting research, but also to get feedback from a variety of people on my presentation skills and my research itself.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Find something that you are really interested in, don’t just get involved as a resume-builder or in a lab that just wants manual labor. There are a ton of great opportunities to do really cool and really exciting stuff at UW, don’t settle for less!