Undergraduate Research Program

Irika Sinha

Irika Sinha in a libraryMajor: B.S. Biochemistry (Molecular, Cellular, Developmental), B.S. Biochemistry
Mentor: Dr. Andy McGuire

Contact: irika@uw.edu

Current research project: Engineered CAR T-Cell Immunotherapy Approach for Epstein-Barr Virus-related Cancers





Irika is a junior in Biochemistry and Biology in Molecular, Cellular, and Development at the University of Washington. She has worked in the labs of Dr. Kaeberlein and Dr. Ginger in the past. Since June 2019, she has been working with Dr. Andy McGuire on CAR T-Cell therapy for Epstein-Barr Virus-related cancers.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
The herpesvirus Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) targets B-cells and epithelial cells. EBV contributes to 1.5% of all cases of human cancers worldwide, specifically cancers of B-cells and epithelial cells, and roughly 140,000 deaths/year. Currently, no treatment is available for EBV-related cancers, so I am working on an approach involving CAR T-Cells.
When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
My first experience with research was an internship as a rising senior in high school at InBios International, a biomedical company. At that time I was first understanding that research could be a career. The summer before freshman year I began working in Dr. Kaeberlein’s lab to gain some experience with research at the university level and I began researching in the Ginger Lab in Spring of freshman year. Recently, I have become a member of the McGuire Lab at Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center. I am involved in research because I am able to help find solutions to issues for the community and I enjoy the research.

What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Attend resume and interview preparation workshops to polish your application. Then, find some projects or research areas that you like and contact professors! There is also a database of research opportunities online.