Undergraduate Research Program

Gargi Kher

Gargi Kher in front of waterMajor: Biochemistry
Minor: Applied Mathematics
Mentor: Neil King, Biochemistry; Karla-Luise Herpoldt, Biochemistry

Contact: gmk6@uw.edu

Current research project:Optimizing in vitro Assembly of a Self-Assembling Protein Cage for Vaccine Design





Gargi is a Junior majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Applied Math. She has been working in the King Lab since January 2018, where she is working on recovering the solubility of a nanoparticle component. In her free time, she loves to spend time with friends and go hiking.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
My project involves finding the optimal expression and purification conditions for one of the subunits of a self-assembling protein cage. This cage has the correct geometry to display particular antigens, making it a desired vaccine candidate. By successfully increasing the solubility of this subunit and thus stabilizing the cage, it’ll be able to be used towards vaccine design.

When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in undergraduate research during winter quarter of my freshman year. I was interested in working in research because of how it involves solving problems in areas that you are passionate about. I came across the King Lab when looking through faculty pages on the Biochemistry website and was intrigued by the work they described. I asked my lab’s PI, Dr. King, if I could join as an undergraduate researcher, and eventually began working on this project!

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
It’s never too early (or too late!) to begin research. If you find something you’re interested in, go for it. It may seem scary at first, but you never know what new skills you will learn and how they will help you grow.