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Mindy Yu 

Mindy Yu participated in the Research Opportunities Program (ROP) in the Faculty of Arts & Science. Mindy worked with Professor Denise Belsham, Department of Physiology, to investigate the potential regulation of agouti-related peptide (AgRP) mRNA by microRNAs; she identified microRNA candidates and analyzed relative changes in AgRP levels within hypothalamic neurons.

During her time in the Belsham Lab, Mindy grew as a researcher receiving training to become proficient in wet lab research including operating analytical equipment and conducting in vitro techniques like RT-qPCR and mammalian cell culture. As she became more involved, Mindy recognized the perseverance it takes to engage in research:  it was often delayed by unforeseen challenges and a need to troubleshoot experiments. Indeed, her daily schedule varied significantly or, as one of her friends aptly shared, “I don’t have a schedule; I follow my cell culture’s schedule.”

The experience of working in a lab with graduate and undergraduate students also taught Mindy about the importance of teamwork as they engaged in discussions and “collectively worked to solve challenges faced during experiments”. As Mindy shared, the supportive team environment allowed her to grow more confident as a researcher and she “actively participated in lab discussions, offered insights into probable mechanisms and assisted others in troubleshooting.”

Mindy intends to continue working with the Belsham Lab conducting additional assays to establish direct microRNA targets of AgRP mRNA. In the future, she hopes to continue investigating the molecular mechanisms underlying endocrine disorders such as type II diabetes or conduct clinical research investigating novel therapies for diabetic patients.

Research Type(s): Research-Directed Courses