To ring in the new year, the Office of the Vice President of Research (OVPR) is once again highlighting research across campus with its Dare to Discover banner campaign. Internal Medicine offers more than 100 undergraduate students access to groundbreaking research, and for the past three years undergraduates working in the lab of E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, have snatched up a spot on one of OVPR’s banners. This year Margaret Mungai, an undergraduate researcher in Abel’s lab, will be featured among 45 other students on banners hanging around downtown Iowa City. Mungai’s can be seen on Washington Street.
For the past two years, Mungai has investigated the effects of impaired metabolism and skeletal muscle cellular signaling on Type 2 diabetes in Abel’s lab. Mungai works closely with her secondary mentor Antentor O. Hinton, Jr., PhD, a postdoctoral research fellow in Abel’s lab.
“Margaret is a hardworking individual, and I believe her strong interest in research will assist her in the MSTP Program that she chooses,” Hinton said. “Moreover, the best three qualities that she has are her EQ, work ethic, and her ability to network.”
While Mungai worked to pinpoint proteins that altered metabolic fission and fusion, she also served as an intern for both the LSAMP IINSPIRE program and the Iowa Biosciences Academy.
Mungai has also received several awards including the Iowa Center for Research by Undergraduate’s Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award, an Oral Presentation Award in Cell Biology at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students and a travel award for the American Society of Cell Biology’s conference.
Mungai has earned these awards and recognitions through hours upon hours in the lab and outside of it. Mungai has published more than six abstracts as either a first author or co-author. One of those publications, produced with graduate research assistant Jessica Ponce, appeared in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
In our undergraduate spotlight series, Mungai described her summer spent researching thyroid cancer alongside Artashes Tadevosyan, PhD, at Yerevan Medical Center in Armenia as well as her other achievements and experiences.
“Research has provided me with a platform to augment a myriad of my skill sets such as improving my critical thinking, allowing me to focus on achieving goals, improving my grit to confront cumbersome situations, and has allowed me to become an independent thinker,” Mungai said.
Read her Q&A with OVPR and see the other undergraduates featured in this year’s banner campaign.
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