For Sarah Tang, undergraduate research has had a tremendous impact on her education. Working in Professor Frumanís lab has given her the opportunity to apply what she has learned in her classes to real-world issues, and the experience she has gained in the lab has provided a greater understanding of the subjects taught in her classes. Sarahís experience has inspired to continue with research, pursuing a career in health care. UROP is pleased to recognize Sarah for the passion she has brought to her undergraduate research.

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

I am an undergraduate research student in Professor David Frumanís laboratory. A major interest of the lab is to study the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway, which is often mutated in many cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma. Our focus is to investigate the role of the PI3K pathway in the growth and survival of leukemia and lymphoma cells. By analyzing important components of this pathway, we aim to develop better therapies for cancer patients.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

Before beginning my search for potential research labs to join, I first defined and prioritized my interests. After taking a biochemistry course, I realized that I was very intrigued with how various metabolic pathways interconnected to run an intricate system we call the human body, and how disease can develop if a component was missing or altered. I also knew that I wanted to be involved in cancer research. These interests led me to join the Fruman Lab at the start of spring quarter during my sophomore year. I have been very grateful for this opportunity and have learned so much since then!

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Working in a research lab has definitely helped me with my studies, especially in several upper-division biology courses where we learned about topics in greater detail and depth. It has also given me the chance to practice the scientific method and techniques in an interactive way, and to apply critical thinking skills in order to predict experimental outcomes and analyze data. I would like to thank my graduate student mentor, Scott Lee, for his efforts in explaining everything to me (sometimes more than once), and also for always challenging me to do better.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

One of my favorite and most memorable experiences was an afternoon when we went out to Aldrich Park to play Frisbee. It was definitely nice to be able to connect with the people we work with in a different setting, and I think that is important since we all spend so much time working in the laboratory.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

It is no surprise that the prevalence of cancer has increased over the years, and I believe that my contribution in research is for a greater cause. This motivates me to put forth more effort because I am part of a team of brilliant scientists, searching for answers that could impact so many lives. My experience in the Fruman Lab has further inspired me to pursue a career in health care, possibly as a physician or a clinical lab scientist, where I would be able to help people live better, healthier lives.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

My best advice would be to make the most out of your experience, and have fun while doing so! I learned that research requires much time and dedication, and loads of motivation in order to keep going even when seemingly all has been lost. I would also recommend starting early in the search for a research lab, and be sure to join one that truly interests you.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '15 Ka Hei (Eric) Chan
Nov. '15 Timna Medovoy
Oct. '15 Soraya Davia
Sep. '15 Amanda Nili
Aug. '15 Soo Song
Jul. '15 Tian Harrison
Jun. '15 Rommel Santos
May. '15 Mariyah Saiduddin
Apr. '15 Angel Rodriguez
Mar. '15 Sarah Tang
Feb. '15 Jay Tolentino
Jan. '15 Yuhao Ma