Undergraduate Research Program

Anika Rajput

 

Major: Biochemistry
Mentor: Alison Paquette, Developmental Biology and Regenerative Medicine

Contact: anikar@uw.edu

Current research project: Analyzing Gene Expression Data to Study the Prenatal Environment

 

Anika Rajput is a rising sophomore studying biochemistry and hoping to minor in environmental health as well. She has been working with Dr. Paquette since the winter of her freshman year learning about R, a statistical analysis program, and how to use it to analyze RNA-sequencing data. She analyzes RNA sequencing data to understand how prenatal environment influences infant and child health outcomes. Outside of being a URL and conducting research, Anika loves to play tennis, bike, and make puzzles.

 

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Pregnancy health is important for both the mother and infant to have a good quality of life. The prenatal environment sets the stage for infants’ health after birth and later-life health. Therefore, it is important to study the factors that potentially affect the prenatal environment and how it correlates to health outcomes in order to prepare and prevent potential complication.

 

 

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
In high school, I worked at Northwest Mothers Milk Bank. It is a non-profit organization that collects donated mother’s milk, pasteurizes it, and redistributes it to families in need and hospitals. In this environment, I learned about the importance of mother’s milk for an infant’s health and well-being. That lead me to further exploring child development and the factors that affect it. After looking on the Seattle Children’s website, I came across Dr. Paquette’s research on the prenatal environment near the beginning of my freshman year. I decided to reach out to her to ask if there were any undergraduate opportunities in her lab and I started working remotely with her shortly after.

 

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Research is a fun way to step out of your comfort zone and study a field of interest in depth. You do not need to have prior experience or knowledge in that field. As long as you have a learning attitude, there are many potential pathways you can go down when finding and conducting research.