Grace Waterman is a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major who will graduate this spring. She is a member of the Biological Sciences Departmental Honors Program, and a URA Scholar.
Title of your research project: Testing the Effects of Entresto on the Heat Stress Response of Drosophila melanogaster
Describe your project:
My project is a group project focused on determining how Entresto, a blood pressure medication, impacts response to heat stress in different ages and genetic backgrounds in Drosophila melanogaster. We want to apply the results we find from our experiment to predict how people taking Entresto will be affected by heat stress, like a heat wave.
Who is your mentor(s) for your project?
Dr. Jeff Leips, Department of Biological Sciences
I found my mentor when I was taking BIOL 142. Dr. Leips discussed his research one day during class and it sounded interesting. After learning more about his research online, I asked if I could join his lab and participate in the research.
I chose Dr. Leips because I am interested in the projects in his lab. I also chose the Leips Lab because before joining the lab, everyone was incredibly nice and supportive. I could tell it would be a great environment to do research in.
How did you become interested in this project?
When interviewing to join the Leips Lab, Dr. Leips told me about each of the projects being done in the lab and I chose to join the Entresto group. My project is a further investigation of the Entresto project from when I joined the lab.
What has been the hardest part about your research/what was the most unexpected thing about being a researcher?
During my time as an undergraduate researcher, one of the projects I worked on has had numerous setbacks. We have had everything from controlled temperature room failures to the COVID-19 pandemic to equipment malfunctions. Having numerous setbacks can be hard but it has taught me that research can sometimes go wrong, and you cannot give up.
What has been the most rewarding part?
The most rewarding part of being a researcher has been discovering my passion for research. Before joining a lab, I was not completely sure I wanted to pursue research in graduate school or as a career. After working in a lab, I found research is what I am passionate about. Even when I encountered numerous setbacks in my projects, I still enjoyed doing research.
How will you disseminate your research (URCAD presentation, conference, publication, etc?)
My research is going to be presented at URCAD, April 19-25. My group also hopes to write a paper about the research and publish it.
What is your advice to other students about getting involved in research?
My advice to other students is to never give up. When pursuing research, things often do not go as planned. You cannot give up; keep trying and it will work out.
What are your career goals?
I plan to attend graduate school after graduating from UMBC and earn a PhD in Biochemistry. I plan to focus on drug design and develop medications to treat cancer. After graduate school, I aim to work in the pharmaceutical industry and become a leader in the field of drug development.