Carla Pantoja

Carla is a recent UCLA graduate, who majored in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.

Carla currently works in Dr. Brigitte Gomperts’ lab, which focuses on studying the effects that chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and bone marrow transplants have on our lungs. You can read Carla’s recently co-authored paper, “High-Throughput Drug Screening Identifies a Potent Wnt Inhibitor that Promotes Airway Basal Stem Cell Homeostasis.”

How did you first get involved in your research project?

I got involved with research during the summer of my freshman, where I participated in BISEP. Shortly after BISEP, I joined the Gomperts Lab and began working on a project with my faculty mentor Dr. Cody Aros. Being a part of BISEP helped me become comfortable in a research setting and acquainted with some of the techniques I would use throughout my time in the Gomperts Lab.

How would you describe your research experience at UCLA?

I would describe my research experience at UCLA as enriching, fulfilling and above all a joyful time. I loved being surrounding by the brightest minds and learning from them on a daily basis.

What is one piece of advice you have for other students thinking about getting involved in research?

If you’re thinking about getting involved in research, do it! There is no greater joy than translating what you read in a textbook into a real-life experiment. Join a group that conducts research in an area you are interested in, but more importantly find a lab that is conducive to a great learning environment. Surround yourself with people who are eager to train young researchers.

What are your future career goals?

I’m taking two years after graduating to work at the NIH/NHLBI, during which I’ll be applying to M.D./Ph.D. programs.