Undergraduate Research Program

Vicky Shih

Vicky smilingMajor: Biochemistry
Mentor: Hu Lab, Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica

Contact: shihv@uw.edu

Current research project: Assessment of Biocompatibility for Rigidity of Gelated Cells Enable T Cell Modulation

Vicky is a rising junior in biochemistry at the University of Washington. She is very interested in using engineering to solve the problems that medicine faces today. Since June 2020, she has been working with Dr. Hu in Institute of Biomedical Sciences, Academia Sinica, Taiwan on the development of intracellular hydrogelated cells, that also serves as many other purposes as artificial antigen presenting cells, stem cell’s feeding cell, and an alternative solution for cell fixation while still maintaining the biofunction of membrane proteins. She aspires to explore more about engineering and research medicine for her aim of becoming a physician scientist.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Membranes are the main pathway of how cells and cells contact and communicate with each other. Imaginable, many research focuses on membrane, membrane proteins, and its interaction with other cells, yet no current fixation method are able to preserve both the membrane integrity and membrane protein functionality, thus our intracellular hydrogelated cell provide a easy, cost effective solution to activate T cells by performing as artificial antigen presenting cells; to serve as feeding cells for stem cells; or just to isolate membrane off from the cell for further research!


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in research over my freshman summer in a summer internship. I was devoted to becoming a physician scientist!


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Summer internship is the best way of getting involved in undergraduate research! It is an efficient use of time and you will get the most out of it being full time and fully involved over 2 months of summer! Highly recommend.