Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

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

I conduct research at the Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic under the guidance of Dr. Brian Wong. My research involves studying the structural and cellular mechanisms that may lead to the regeneration of cartilage tissue after exposure to laser treatment. As cartilage tissue heals poorly on its own, understanding the regenerative effects of laser irradiation on cartilage may bring us closer to developing better treatments for damaged cartilage resulting from sport injuries or degenerative diseases, such as arthritis.

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

My involvement in research began in the spring quarter of my freshman year; I responded to a recruiting notice Dr. Wong placed in the Campuswide Honors Program electronic newsletter. I saw this as an opportunity to apply what I had learned in the classroom towards making a meaningful contribution to the scientific field. Further, because of my interest in pursuing a career in medicine, I was excited to have a mentor who is both a practicing physician and a clinical scientist.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

My work in the laboratory of Brian Wong has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my college years. As in medicine, certainty is elusive in basic scientific research, but I have grown to trust the scientific method to judge the answers produced by hypothesis-driven inquiry. I have learned to read critically and analyze scientific journals, developed meticulous work habits, and trained and focus my problem-solving skills by overcoming obstacles in experiment design and execution. For me, medical research has been a vantage point from which to look beyond the boundaries of the classroom and observe the important connections that link the lab bench to the bedside.

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

Recently, I observed a procedure developed in our laboratory that had successfully treated a patient with an airway obstruction by remodeling his deviated nasal septum using laser heat. By following the evolution of this project, I have seen how a discovery originating in the laboratory may impact healthcare on a grand scale through the development of new medical technology that is applicable to many patients.

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

My future goals begin with attending medical school. After my training, I would like to become a clinician and a scientist who is equipped with the knowledge to embark on a career that will apply new advancements in research and technology in making a positive impact on the future of healthcare.

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

My advice is that it is never too early or too late to become involved in research, especially at an institution such as UC Irvine, where mechanisms like UROP are in place to guide and encourage students to undertake creative projects outside of the classroom.

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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