Allison Elliott-Shannon

By

College: Arts and Sciences

Undergrad Researcher Has the Formula for Success

Published: Sep 30, 2013

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 30, 2013) — Manasi Malik has just begun her junior year at the University of Kentucky, but the 19-year-old biology major has already been published as a lead author on a paper in a prestigious scientific journal.

 

A native of Massachusetts, Malik came to UK with the intention to become involved in research, and has found success working in the lab of Alzheimer's disease researcher Steve Estus of the UK Sanders-Brown Center on Aging. Malik's paper, written in conjunction with Estus and other researchers, is titled "CD33 Alzheimer's Risk-Altering Polymorphism, CD33 Expression, and Exon 2 Splicing," and appeared in the Aug. 14 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience. The paper points to a potential genetic target in understanding and reducing Alzheimer's risk.

 

Within the Estus lab, she explained, each researcher is assigned to work on a particular gene. Although Malik works primarily on the gene known as CD33 and its involvement with Alzheimer's disease, she credits the team approach of the lab for the success of all the involved researchers.

 

"A lot of people have put a lot of collaboration into this project," said Malik.

 

After working in a laboratory in Massachusetts during high school, Malik chose to come to the University of Kentucky both because her sister was enrolled in the UK College of Medicine, and because she knew the campus offered opportunities for undergraduates to become involved in high-level research. Beginning work in the Estus lab during the Fall semester of her first year at UK, Malik has narrowed her interests to the area of molecular biology, and is enrolled in the B.S./M.D. program, designed to put her on track to attend medical school after earning her undergraduate degree.

 

"I really loved the UK environment," said Malik, who is a member of the UK Honors Program and a Singletary Scholar.

 

So why did she want to get involved in undergraduate research?

 

"I like lab work a lot," said Malik. "I think it's fun. I like the puzzle, the troubleshooting. I feel like I know what steps to take in research now. A big question, broken down into small experiments, yields answers."

 

"It's very elegant," she said of her studies on the molecular level.

 

"Freshman year I was so intimidated," said Malik, of beginning her work in the Estus lab. "I now really feel like part of the lab, and I like all of the people. Even if Dr. Estus is busy, he'll spend hours answering your questions."

 

Besides her research involvement, Malik spent several months in 2013 studying marine biodiversity and conservation with the Sea Education Association program in the Sargasso Sea. Conducting oceanographic research while serving as part of an active sailing crew, she learned the ropes of both biological field research and manning a sailing vessel.

 

In addition to academic work, Malik has spent several semesters volunteering for UK HealthCare. She has served in areas ranging from the Markey Cancer Center, to the cytogenetics laboratory, to the UK Pediatrics Twilight Clinic. She notes that her experience in the UK HealthCare environment has been critical to her decision to pursue medical education after earning her undergraduate degree.

 

Malik's experience is representative of a number of UK undergraduate researchers, as she has earned class credit for her research through the BIO 395 course option, as well as Honors independent projects. Funding from the "Bucks for Brains" program has enabled her to continue her research over the summers.

 

Ultimately, Malik would like to earn both a medical degree and a doctorate in molecular biology, to enable her to build a career incorporating both lab bench and bedside work.

 

"I'm open to anything," she said. "My research experience has been a really, really good opportunity as an undergraduate."

 

For more on Malik's experience in her own words, watch the video:

 

 

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Allison Elliott-Shannon, allison.elliott@uky.edu

 

img_0014.jpgimg_0017.jpgimg_0018.jpg
August
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
Sat
2
 
Sun
3
 
Mon
4
 
Tue
5
 
Wed
6
 
Thu
7
Curator Tour
Fri
8
 
Sat
9
 
Sun
10
 
Mon
11
 
Tue
12
 
Wed
13
 
Thu
14
 
Fri
15
 
Sat
16
 
Sun
17
 
Mon
18
We Are UK
Tue
19
 
Wed
20
 
Thu
21
Parent and Families Reception
Fri
22
K Team Meeting: K Week Overview
Big Blue U
Campus Ruckus
Getting Around Campus and Beyond
Sat
23
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Fast and Furious 7
K Team Meeting: Lunch and Campus Tour
UK Lex-Mart
Pedalpalooza
Bowman's Bash
Sun
24
Bowman's Bash
K Team Meeting: Dinner with Your K Team
Kentucky at Kroger
Mon
25
K Team Meeting: Common Reading Experience Discussion
Bicycle-Friendly Lexington
Tue
26
First Day of Classes
Don't Steal Bikes, Bro
Understanding Lexington's Bicycle Facilities
First Day of Classes
Wildcat Wellness Meditation
Wed
27
The Late Night Film Series Presents - The Wind Rises
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Avengers: Age of Ultron
Adjusting to College
Wildcat Wellness - Yoga for Relaxation
Painting and Mocktails
Terrace Time Out at the Hilary J. Boone Center
Thu
28
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Divergent
The Late Night Film Series Presents - Ex Machina
Wildcat Block Watch
Chapel Talk: Faith and Science in an Evolving World
Royalty Showcase
Fri
29
 
Sat
30
 
Sun
31
Wildcat Wellness Expressions - Inspiration Object
UK Mock Trial Informational Meeting
Mon
 
 
 
 
 
Reset Page