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Experiences: MS

RACHEL MELLAS – EEB (concentration in Marine Biology)

  • B.S. – Biomedical Science, University at Buffalo, NY, 2009.
  • M.S. – Graduate Program in Evolution, Ecology, and Behavior, University at Buffalo, NY, 2012.
  • Field: Variation in symbiont uptake in the early ontogeny of the upside-down Jellyfish, Cassiopea spp.

Moved on to:

Laboratory Research Specialist,
School of Dental Medicine, Department of Oral Biology
University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT

Research field: Using biomaterials to develop clinically applicable implants for those suffering from hyposalivation from Sjögren’s Syndrome, and help resolve inflammation using resolvins.

What courses were taken?:

  • Tropical Marine Ecology
  • Macroevolution
  • Evolutionary Genetics
  • Advanced Ecology
  • Univariate and Multivariate Geographic Statistics
  • Evolution Colloquium, etc.

Other important experiences?:

  • Fieldwork in the Florida Keys: The Potential of Symbiont Shuffling in the Upside-down Jellyfish, Cassiopea
  • Coral spawning researcher
  • Work in the Coffroth Lab: Learning laboratory techniques, such as PCR, Sequence Analysis, microsattelites, gel electrophoresis of DNA using agarose and polyacrylamide gels, care and maintenance of algal cultures as well as Cassiopea Collaborating with the Monterrey Bay, CA and Chicago Shedd aquariums on a project classifying species of cassiopea and their symbionts.

Her tips for students:

  • Don’t be afraid to research for ideas—lots of ideas. Your graduate project will change as you develop your ideas better; learn all you can about the topic that interests you. Ask “why” for everything and then seek to answer it.
  • Learn every technique available in your lab. Even if your project doesn’t require knowing it. It will help in the future when you’re looking for jobs to have very broad laboratory skills.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to be a part of a publishable research project. Getting your name on a paper even as a co-author is a great asset to have as you prepare to publish your own graduate work. Plus, the preparation of a manuscript is good practice for grant writing and publication writing.