BY SARAH LOPEZ
2013 Symposium on Student Research,
Creative Activities and Innovation Finalist
Growing up with limited opportunities and resources about college, I always had the impression that higher education was out of reach. I worked hard to overcome that thinking, and now as a biological sciences major here at CSUSM I feel incredibly supported. Research is encouraged here and I have embraced the opportunity to gain this valuable, hands-on experience, which has been an integral part in furthering my educational endeavor of obtaining a Ph.D.
Working in a laboratory on campus has fueled my passion in understanding the physiological processes that govern all life. My research experience has been a great tool to take what I learn in a traditional lecture and apply the biological and physiological concepts to real life problems and laboratory projects. Being given the chance to conduct research has endowed me the desire to similarly encourage others to pursue a higher education. I strongly feel like my research experience now offers me the opportunity to continue my work and passion to benefit people throughout the world that are suffering parasitism.
About my Research
I work as student-researcher under my mentor and principle investigator, Dr. Deborah Kristan. We are examining the life history traits of a nematode that models intestinal parasites in the round worm group that infect humans. This research is significant in highlighting the life history traits of the parasite during its infectious stage.
The World Health Organization estimates 740 million people are infected with nematodes, and this is why it is pertinent to understand the parasite physiology. I hope that my research, and the work of Dr. Kristan’s lab, will promote other avenues of research to be studied in order to alleviate the global burden of disease by parasitic infections.