HRP SU23-40: Research Opportunity with Dr. Paola Vera-Licona

Project Mentor

Dr. Paola Vera-Licona
Center for Cell Analysis and Modeling, Center for Quantitative Medicine

Undergraduate Research Opportunity Description

Project Description This is a computational-based project where the student will identify combinations of perturbation to induce cell reprogramming in pancreatic beta cells. The student will have the opportunity to learn how to (1) use multi-omics profiles, including RNA-sequencing data, to reconstruct a signaling network of the biological system of interest, (2) apply our in-house and other computational tools for cell-reprogramming analysis, and (3) discuss and interpret the results and future steps, together with our collaborators.
Project Direction This project is part of an international collaboration to identify mechanisms to rescue DNA damage and senescence-related alterations in aged pancreatic beta cells. Our lab will be conducting the data analysis portions of this collaborative project. As such, the summer project can continue into the year and serve as a basis for an undergraduate thesis project. Depending on the results of the summer project and/or the extended portion, this undergraduate project can lead to a peer-reviewed publication.
Mentorship and Supervision I will meet with the student daily and have weekly meetings for comprehensive progress discussions. In the first week, the student will be trained to use software to build signaling networks from multi-omics data. The student will have some reading materials to familiarize themself with the project’s computational methods and basic concepts related to aging pancreatic beta cells. If the student’s findings are suitable for publication, the PI will guide the manuscript preparation. At the end of the summer, the student will be able to present their progress to the entire Center.
Student Qualifications
– Be proficient in at least one of the following programming languages: R, C++, or Java.
– Interest in computational systems biology and bioinformatics. Even if the student has no experience in these biomedical/computational biology/bioinformatics areas, motivation is extremely important.
– Suitable for math, computer science, biological sciences, pharmacy studies, or biomedical engineering student interested in computational systems biology and systems medicine.
Summer Schedule Options Research Dates: May 22 to July 28, 2023
Schedule: To be determined in consultation with the selected student
Project Continuation Fall 2023, Spring 2024
Academic Year Time Commitment 6-9 hours/week
Possible Thesis Project Yes


Submit an online application for this research opportunity at The application deadline is Monday, January 30, 2023.

This application requires a resume or CV, an unofficial transcript, and a brief statement of research interests.