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Lopresti, Michael

DSC_8205Q.  Describe your research project and its significance in 100 words or less.

A.  The timing of the uplift of the Hangay Plateau, a mountain range in Western Mongolia, is currently being investigated, using geological and biological data.  As the Hangay Plateau rose, it separated the
fish populations.  Our goal is to use the genetic relationships of the fish across the Hangay range to determine the time of their most recent common ancestor. We collected samples of fish and we will
sequence certain genes and compare the sequences and estimate how long ago populations diverged from each other.  Using these techniques, we will be able to estimate the uplift of the Hangay Plateau.

Q.  How long have you been working on this project?

A.   I have been working on this project since last September.  I worked roughly 8 hours/week during the year, and full time this past summer.

Q.  What do you like most about doing research?

A.   My favorite part about doing research is overcoming the problems you encounter, and when you finally get to analyze the data you’ve spent so much time collecting.  For a brief moment, you know something that no one else has ever known, and I think that’s pretty cool.

Q.  What do you like least about doing research?

A.  I think most people will agree that research can get tedious.  Whether it’s pipetting hundreds of samples or sifting through DNA sequences, it can get a little boring, but I think that just makes examining your
results all the more meaningful.

Q.  What are your career goals?

A.  I’m currently in the process of applying to MD/PhD programs.  My goal is to become a physician-scientist to work with patients as well as develop new techniques and approaches for treating disease.

Q.   What advice do you have for students who are trying to get into a research lab/group?

A.  I advise that students look for labs early in their academic career.  By getting involved in research early, students will have plenty of time to fully understand the research process, gain substantial research experience and possibly even complete an independent project.  I also advise that students meet with different faculty members in order to explore different research interests.