Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good

  • Headshot of Vilajet Kovaci

Vilajet Kovaci

2015 FUTURE Student

I’ve always been interested in finding how and why things work the way they do. Science helped answer those questions and biology inspired many more. At Ursinus I will pursue a degree in biology, then I will go to medical college to become a doctor. I worked on Axolotls and Xenopus as part of my research. I, alongside my lab partner Susana, investigated the migration of microglial cells during embryonic development. This research experience not only helped me build the necessary skills for laboratory work, but it also drove me to be a well-rounded student. I learned the qualities of a good student through my mentor Sarah Weggeman, co-mentor Meghan Later, helpers Keven and Christian Hoogheem. I worked with one of the best faculty Ursinus has to offer, Dr. Ellen Dawley, who showed me a new way of learning.

My Major/ Minor/ Campus Organizations     

Biology / Bonner Leader

My Research

The researchers in Dr. Dawley’s lab, including myself, are interested in mapping out the movement of the immune cells of the central nervous system called microglial cells during development. We used ethanol along with other compounds and mixtures to make the Axolotl/Xenopus embryos stay fixed in the paraffin embedding. Then we would use a microtome to create very thin slices of the embedding. After, we would put the slices on the slides using a tissue floating device. This leads to the staining process, where we first used Hematoxylin and Eosin to become familiar with the anatomy of the amphibians that we used for the research. After we had mastered the use of Hematoxylin and Eosin, we advanced to using tomato lectin. Tomato-lectin is another staining technique that has the purpose of  binding to certain protein only found on microglial cells, therefor making them visible for us to document and analyze. Finally we would read many related articles to see if we could improve our research in any way and discuss those ideas with the group. Now I am searching through articles to learn more about amphibians and how the immune system works in preparation for fall research. 

Life After Ursinus

I am a first generation college student and I plan on continuing my education after undergrad to graduate school for medicine. Research is fueling my passion for science and medicine.