Student Research Profile: Emma Payne

Here at PUC, biology students have countless opportunities to get involved with research, oftentimes working alongside professors on projects. Programs are specially curated to not only prepare students academically but also to equip them with real-world experience for success in future endeavors.

Here’s one student’s experience and how they feel PUC helped prepare them.

Who are you?

My name is Emma Payne, and I am a biochemistry major looking to go into biomedical and pharmaceutical research after graduating before going to medical school.

What did you do?

Under the guidance of Dr. Sung, I participated in research of Alzheimer’s disease from a physiological standpoint before continuing on to biochemical experiments. In our experiments, we collected data based on C. elegans worm behavior and its attraction to chemoattractants that replicated the smell of food. I was responsible for making more batches of E. coli food for the worms, incubating new batches of worms, and carrying out new behavioral tests based on the diet and age of worms.

When and where did you do this work?

I was able to work with Dr. Sung in Alzheimer research here at PUC in the research labs of Clark Hall during my freshman year.

What did you learn?

In my research experience, I learned to cement process and create consistent procedures to limit the amount of error in data results. I feel as though my experience in my research with Dr. Sung has been foundational to any future opportunities in research or in my practice in medicine later in life. By experiencing research and the process of exploring what causes biological mechanisms I learned to think abstractly and use information I was learning in my chemistry and biology classes to apply in our experiments. Additionally, I learned by reading the articles of others’ work I was able to see how useful it is to use the research of other’s to the furthering the understanding of diseases like Alzheimer’s by working as a community.

How did your experience at PUC help prepare you for this experience?

Previously I curated a love for lab research in high school when I took survey chemistry classes. I have also gotten the opportunity to intern at a clinic in Houston and interact with individuals who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. In having experience and a background in chemistry, however introductory, lead to my ability to look at biological research on a fundamental and chemical level as well as have skills to understand laboratory procedure and tools.

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