For Professor Andrej Lupták, the importance of undergraduate research is that it teaches students how knowledge is generated. This addition to the traditional classroom and textbook learning can be of tremendous value to students as they move to reach their academic and career goals. Professor Lupták developed his dedication to undergraduate research through his own experience as a student and is passionate about offering the same opportunities to the next generation of researchers. UROP is pleased to recognize Professor Lupták for his dedication to the undergraduate students he mentors.

1. How did you develop an interest in mentoring undergraduate research or creative projects, and what type of projects have you directed?

My own research experience as an undergraduate was formative and I wanted to pass that to the next generation of scientists. Most of our research is in biochemistry and molecular biology of ribonucleic acids (RNAs), particularly in the discovery of novel functional RNAs. The projects have all levels of complexity and allow research novices, such as undergraduate researchers, to make their mark and get a taste of discovery.

2. What do you look for and what are your expectations of undergraduates you select to conduct research under your guidance?

Dedication, ambition, and common sense are key. Good chemical intuition is a plus.

3. Describe your level of engagement and style in mentoring undergraduates.

Most of my undergraduates work closely with one of the graduate students or postdoctoral fellows in the lab. They get their initial training from these seasoned experimentalists and sometimes end up working on fully independent projects and work directly with me.

4. In your experience, how have your students improved or benefited as a result of their undergraduate research experience?

I think research is essential for students to find out how knowledge is created; to see how all that stuff ends up in their textbooks and lecture slides. Equally important is learning to communicate their work—to present their results in group meetings, the UROP symposium, and elsewhere. Undergraduate researchers learn to present and discuss solid results, as well as the less conclusive ones, and stand by their work.

5. What have you learned or benefited from guiding undergraduate research or creative projects?

I’ve learned that anybody can make a significant discovery.

6. What recommendations and advice would you give students embarking on undergraduate research or creative projects?

In experimental sciences, such as biochemistry, start as early as possible. The first day of your first year is not too early.

Research Interests: RNA biology and chemistry

Faculty Profile: https://www.faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=5448

Email: aluptak@uci.edu

Past Faculty Mentors of the Month
  
2018

2017
Dec. '17 Hillary L. Berk
Nov. '17 Dongbao Chen
Oct. '17 Cascade Sorte
Sep. '17 An Hong Do
Aug. '17 Todd C. Holmes
Jul. '17 Adam Martiny
Jun. '17 Mark I. Langdorf
May. '17 Anthony J. Durkin
Apr. '17 Thomas Ahlering
Mar. '17 Dara H. Sorkin
Feb. '17 Andrej Lupták
Jan. '17 Michelle A. Fortier
  
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009