Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

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

I have been doing research in Dr. Christopher Hughes' lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Irvine for nearly four years. Our lab studies blood vessel growth and development from existing vessels (angiogenesis) using an in vitro system that reliably models critical stages of this process, including vessel sprouting, proliferation and branching. Angiogenesis is important for both initial vascular development and several processes occurring in adulthood. Tumor growth, for example, is dependent on angiogenesis, as new vessels must form to supply oxygenated blood to the growing mass.

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

I began research in the Hughes lab during my first year at UC Irvine. I came in contact with Dr. Hughes with the help of professor I met through the Campuswide Honors Program. Since I didn't know that first year students could begin research, I was lucky to receive help making the appropriate connections. I chose to attend UCI for the excellent biology program and research opportunities, and was grateful to start working in a lab so soon.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Doing research in a molecular biology lab reinforced the material I learned in the classroom, and vice versa. It certainly was easier and more worthwhile to study when I could see the concepts and techniques discussed in my molecular and cellular biology courses applied in a laboratory setting.

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

I had the opportunity to spend last summer working full-time in the lab, with support of a SURP fellowship. This was great, since I could see what life in a lab was like on a day-to-day basis. Also, I had more independence in planning and implementing experiments than I could during the school year. I enjoyed getting to know the other lab members and feel like I am more prepared for graduate school after seeing a bit of the lives of graduate students at UCI.

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

I plan to pursue a PhD in Molecular Pathology at UC San Diego. I will begin the program in the fall of this year and hope to work in a lab researching the molecular mechanisms underlying neurological disorders. Being involved with research as an undergraduate not only fueled my interest in research as a career, but also made attending graduate school directly after finishing my bachelor's degree a possibility, as most PhD programs require fairly extensive research experience.

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

Get involved early if you are serious about pursuing research in the future (after graduation). Also being able to balance school, research, and fun is essential; it helps to prioritize and learn to manage time wisely as early as possible.

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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