Blog Series: UA Student Researches, Presents in Germany and Prague

University Relations - Communications
Aug. 13, 2014

This is the third in a five-part University of Arizona blog series about the University's STEM education initiatives and students conducting research abroad.

UA undergraduate researcher and Honors College student Amanda Chung, a Undergraduate Biology Research Program student and physiology major, has presented her research in Germany and has conducted studies in Prague. Here, Chung, an Honors College student, shares her experiences abroad. 

Q: What have you studied while abroad?

Chung: I was in Plön, Germany, for three days, and during that time I attended a Wild Mouse Conference. This conference brought together researchers studying all different aspects of the mouse, from behavioral studies to molecular research. I was able to present a poster looking at the expression of a family of proteins found in mouse tears and saliva in a line of knockout mice, where only some mice have missing proteins. I stayed in Prague for approximately one week, and during my time there I isolated DNA from the lacrimal and salivary glands, which secrete tears and saliva, respectively. This work will be used as the basis for more expression projects done by future students.

Q: Why is this particular research important for the scientific community and general population?

Chung: The family of proteins I work with are composed of 64 duplications, but only a select few are expressed differentially in tears and saliva. We are trying to determine why only some are found, because there are more that can be expressed. This family of proteins is also an interesting area in the mouse genome for looking at the different methods used for duplications and/or deletions of genes.

Q: Why are you interested in scientific reseaerch?

Chung: My interest in research started a little after freshman year after taking my first biology classes. I started in my lab in the fall of my sophomore year. When I started research, I wanted to try and learn in a different learning environment. For me, and I'm sure many others, it's easier to learn from practice rather than studying all the time, so I though that doing research would help me with learning how to apply concepts I had learned in previous classes.

Q: Which organizations are supporting your research?

Chung: I was able to study abroad through an UBRP grant, which helped fund my flight to Europe. The conference in Plön, Germany was funded by the hosts of the conference, the Max Planck Institute. The housing in Prague was funded by Charles University, where I worked in a lab for a week.

Q: What are your long-term plans?

Chung: The research that I have done here at the UA has helped me because I was able to use techniques I've already learned from my lab at the UA and apply them to the work I did in Prague. I hope to attend medical school once I graduate, and I'm interested in studying oncology or infectious diseases.

Read about other UA students conducting research abroad:

Photos courtesy of Amanda Chung


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