Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

My area of research involves developing stem cell therapies for spinal cord injury under the guidance of Drs. Aileen Anderson and Brian Cummings.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I became involved in the beginning of my junior year. I knew a graduate student in the Anderson lab who encouraged me try it out. I did, and loved it. That decision has opened up numerous opportunities for me.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

During lectures, I have always been told about the different techniques used in biological and chemical research. In my lab, I have been able to see those techniques in action and witness their outcomes, bringing what I learned in class to life. Being able to see what I learned being applied in the real world has made lecture information much more meaningful and interesting.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

Too many to count! But if I have to pick, I have really enjoyed taking care of and interacting with our research animals. I am grateful for what they provide us with. Also, being able to successfully perform experiments that I learned about in class (such as immunohistochemistry or analysis using microscopy) has given me new confidence as a scientist, and a desire to learn more.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I have applied to a few year-long internships with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health to further my research experience before moving on to graduate school. I already have a great understanding of how laboratories work and have a wide range of research techniques that will be helpful once I start my internship, all due to my experiences as an undergraduate researcher.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

Get involved early! You never know what doors this opportunity may open for you, or what interests you might discover that you never knew you had. UCI is unique in its undergraduate research and it would be a shame not to take advantage of it. The relationships you forge with faculty mentors and other students are priceless, and will be of great help when you apply for graduate schools or jobs. This is an opportunity, not only to have a fantastic experience in research, but to be one step ahead of the competition when going through an application process.

Past Researchers of the Month
Dec. '05 Erin Curtis
Nov. '05 Elizabeth Black
Oct. '05 Chao Li
Sept. '05 Neil Saigal
Aug. '05 Evan Brown
Jul. '05 Dirk Groeneveld
Jun. '05 Alpay Dermenci
May '05 Eva Maria Rodriguez
Apr. '05 Christine Nyholm
Mar. '05 Erin Conn
Feb. '05 Nhu Vuong
Jan. '05 Jennifer Channual
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