Honors Spotlight Star: Sophie Lear
1. Whose lab are you in?
- I am in Dr. Lyczak’s research lab.
2. What is the title of your research?
- Investigating the interaction between PAM-1 and WEE-1.3 during meiosis in C. elegans
3. Give a brief summary of your research?
- PAM-1 is an essential protein in development in C. elegans. However, how it functions to regulate important milestones of development, including meiosis or the formation of eggs and sperm, is unknown. My research project focuses on better understanding how PAM-1 and another protein involved in regulating the cell-cycle, WEE-1.3, interact. By examining mutants of pam-1, wee-1.3, double mutants with both mutations, and by knocking out the expression of the proteins, we can compare how the proteins affect meiosis differently. This research is important for better understanding infertility and early development, especially since humans have a version of the PAM-1 protein.
4. What was your motive for joining a research lab?
- I initially joined a research lab to gain more experience as a researcher beyond the labs that are required with classes.
5. How has participating in research affected your college experience?
- Doing research completely transformed my academic experience at Ursinus. By joining the research lab, I was able to build relationships throughout the biology department and with my peers in lab, which helped to enrich my experiences in class. It gave my opportunities to attend conferences to present my research and talk to experts in the field. Research was the biggest influence on deciding on a path for myself post-Ursinus.
6. What has been the highlight of your research?
- The highlight of my research experience has been becoming more confident in my own abilities as a scientific researcher and communicator. I am a completely different researcher and communicator from when I first joined lab and the confidence I have gained throughout the years has set me up for success later in life. Besides this, the friendships I have made with my lab partners has been my favorite part of my experience as a researcher. The lab atmosphere is very positive and supportive, and it made me excited for research every day. Lastly, being a mentor to younger students in lab taught me a lot about myself as a scientist and as a leader.
7. What are your future plans for after graduation?
- After graduation, I plan to work as a research assistant for either a university or a biotechnology company for a year before working to obtain a doctorate in genetics.
8. Any words of wisdom for prospective future researchers?
- Doing research with a professor is so rewarding beyond just learning new lab skills. If I had words of wisdom for people looking to do research, I would say to take the opportunity to get to know everyone else in your lab and your professor. Also, I would advise to stick with it. At first the new techniques and concepts can be confusing but the community of Ursinus is so supporting, and you will be amazed at how much you learn and grow as an academic.
9. Are there any fellow researchers or mentors you would like to thank?
- I would like to thank Dr. Lyczak for her mentorship throughout my entire time here at Ursinus. She has guided me to becoming a confident scientist and gave me the unique opportunity of exploring the field of genetics research. I would also like to thank Quaran Davis for being a friend and peer in the Lyczak lab, as well as Alex Bender, Diana Cando, Zara Tabackin, and Nicholas Williams for working on projects with me in the lab.