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Finding confidence in the lab

In the fall of 2008, Deborah Thurtle ’08 will start a molecular cell biology doctoral program at UC Berkeley. And though the work undoubtedly will be challenging, she knows she’s starting out with a solid background in research and excellent lab skills—things she gained as an undergraduate at Santa Clara.

As a biology major, with a minor in chemistry and biotechnology, Thurtle worked with Associate Biology Professor Craig Stephens researching a bacteria called Caulobacter crescentus. The bacteria can break down plant cellulose—something that could be very useful for future biofuel technology.

Thurtle’s efforts in the lab were focused on analyzing the genes that regulate the bacteria’s metabolism. “I like the problem-solving aspects of research, figuring out answers to questions that haven’t been asked before,” she says. “I had thought coming in as a freshman that I wanted to do research. This experience helped me solidify that.”

And the experience has given her a lot of confidence. “From this, I knew I could go into a lab and figure out the problem and execute the solution. This helped me not feel intimidated about going into grad school,” she says.

Deborah Thurtle '08, B.S. biology

Currently in biology Ph.D. program at UC Berkeley




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