Santa Clara University

The Johnson Scholars Program

Lauren Germany '14

Hometown: Scotts Valley, Calif.
Major/Minor: biology/public health
Mentor: Jessica Lucas, assistant professor, biology
Project: Genetic Analysis of MAP65-6 and 7 in Microtubule Organization and Cell Growth

Lauren Germany's research focuses on a fundamental biological question: "How do organisms grow?" Together with her mentor, Lauren tailored the project based on her interest in genetics and to better prepare for medical school. She will lead a team of other student researchers in examining how microtubule arrays in plant cells organize and function in morphogenesis, which is universally important for understanding cell growth. Working on this project will enhance Lauren's understanding of the relationships between genetics and physiology and greatly help her as a medical doctor, as genomics is increasingly being applied to medicine. Lauren also views this research as a new channel through which she can continue to serve underprivileged communities, as it has the potential to be applied to crops to develop food security for our ever-expanding population. This project will be the basis of Lauren's honors thesis, which she hopes to present at the annual meeting of The American Society of Plant Biology in Oregon next summer.

Lauren's 2013 Summer Project Update:

"This past summer I learned a lot—and not just about plant genetics and microtubule binding proteins. Through conducting my research, I learned many useful lab skills, but I also learned useful time management techniques that I could apply to the rest of my life as well. Additionally, I learned the value of perseverance and optimism when my experiments produced unexpected results. Rather than viewing results as good or bad, I came to view them simply as results, as important bits of information whether they showed me what I was looking for or not. These unexpected results also helped me to develop my critical thinking capabilities as I worked to reason what could have caused the outcomes of my experiments. Furthermore, I now realize that in research, trying to answer one question often leads you to raise dozens more. However, this is a good thing, because oftentimes these new questions lead you to solve problems that you didn’t even know existed, and they fuel the minds of scientists striving to understand the natural world."