Undergraduate Research Program

Haley Pang

Haley Smiling with a birdMajor: Biology: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental
Mentor: Takuma Uo, Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine

Contact: hjpang@uw.edu

Current research project: Understanding Molecular Logics Behind Adaptive Resistance of Prostate Cancer Cells to Androgen-targeted Therapies


Haley is a junior in MCD Biology. She is very interested in the many ways cancers mutate and adapt, especially following currently available treatments. She works at Plymate lab where she explores prostate cancer cells’ responses to drug therapies. In her free time, Haley enjoys baking and longboarding.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Advanced prostate cancer can give rise to lethal castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), which is associated with decreased quality of life and survival, so new treatment options are essential to fill this gap in clinical need. A group of chemicals called bumped kinase inhibitors (BKIs) have been shown to be capable of suppressing growth of cellular models of CRPC. I am exploring whether BKIs mainly act through the AMPK cellular metabolism pathway to determine the BKIs’ mechanism of action, which is part of a larger project to investigate these chemicals as a novel therapy for patients with CRPC.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
When I was in Bellevue College, I took part in a research project that introduced research to community college students in the introductory biology series. I really enjoyed the investigative techniques, and wanted to continue exploring biology at UW. I wanted to work on helping solve a real world problem and help others, so research was a good fit for me. I found my lab through the URP’s research database and contacted them inquiring about openings in their lab. Sure enough, they had a spot for me so I started in the spring of my first year at UW.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
You will never feel ready to start research, because there are things you learn from the lab that even your lab classes can’t teach you. Apply and apply broadly! Sometimes it’s the luck of the draw when it comes to finding opportunities, so don’t be discouraged if your first 5+ emails/applications don’t get you accepted, just keep going and be ready to learn a lot.