Undergraduate Research Program

Vivian Ha

Vivian SmilingMajor: Biology (Physiology)
Mentor: Anthony Grillo PhD, Department of Pathology; Grace Wandell MD MS, Department of Otolaryngology

Contact: havt@uw.edu

Current research project: Hypoxia as a Therapy for Mitochondrial Disease

Vivian is currently a senior pursuing a Bachelor’s in Biology. She is from Olympia, WA – the states capital! She has been involved in research since her freshman year and is currently working on two projects! She is an undergraduate researcher in the Kaeberlein Lab studying the pathobiology of mitochondrial dysfunction in diseased mice. Her current clinical research is focused on optimizing technology to accurately identify laryngeal masses at the UW Otolaryngology – Heck and Neck Surgery Center. In the future, she hopes to go to medical school to become a physician scientist. In whatever free time she has left, Vivian likes to go on food adventures around Seattle with her friends.


Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
My work in the Kaeberlein Lab focuses on using hypoxia, which is a low oxygen environment, as an age delaying intervention in mice. Our mice lack the NDUFS4 gene, which then leads them to have shorter lifespans and develop neurological symptoms, closely modeling Leigh Syndrome in humans. By reducing the oxygen tension, symptoms of disease and survival of the mice improve.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I got involved in undergraduate research during the winter quarter of my freshman year.


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
Just do it! There are plenty of opportunities for research at UW. No matter what your major or class standing is, you will find a position perfect for you if you reach out.