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Department of Biology News

Biology senior works in University of Cambridge lab as part of summer research program abroad

UTA senior Michael Oladugba spent his 2018 summer break at the University of Cambridge studying mutations in the DNA of fruit flies as part of the UT System’s Summer Research Academy Abroad program.

“It was a dream come true to be able to study at Cambridge, one of the world’s greatest universities,” Oladugba said. “As a pre-med, it also strengthened my resume to the point where I can aspire to top medical schools such as Stanford, as long as my MCAT and grades are good enough,” he added.

Last year, Oladugba participated in the University of Texas System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation’s Summer Research Academy, which qualified him to participate in this year’s Summer Research Academy Abroad.

At the University of Cambridge, he worked in the Gurdon Lab under Dr. Hansong Ma, looking at how mutations in the genome in the mitochondria DNA of fruit flies affects their longevity.

“I learned very important skills such as extraction and purification of DNA,” Oladugba said. “These are skills that are vital in biology research and I appreciate the opportunity for this intensive hands-on experience in a top British laboratory.”

Oladugba also appreciated the opportunity to travel throughout Britain and learn about a new culture.

“The words are often different in England, and the social life is different,” Oladugba said. “I am a jazz trumpeter and I was able to perform at St John’s College in Cambridge and in the park and other places, which I really enjoyed. The World Cub Football was also on during the time I was there, which was a great atmosphere.

“My main message to other students is that they should apply for these programs – it was an unforgettable experience.”

Since 1993, the University of Texas System Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation has sought to increase the number of underrepresented minority students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. See more about the opportunities here.