Lindsey Fontenot

Meet UCLA senior, Lindsey Fontenot, who is majoring in Microbiology,Immunology & Molecular Genetics. Lindsey currently works with Dr. Koon, whose research focuses on digestive diseases.

She was named co-author to three recently published papers titled “Therapeutic Mechanism of Macrophage Inflammatory Protein 1 alpha Neutralizing Antibody (CCL3) in Clostridium difficile Infection in Mice,” “High circulating elafin levels are associated with Crohn’s disease-associated intestinal strictures,” and “Elafin inhibits obesity, hyperglycemia, and liver steatosis in high-fat diet-treated male mice.”

Lindsey was involved in the CARE Fellows Program and is currently a part of our CARE Scholars Program.

How did you first get involved in your research project?

I decided to join a research lab the fall of my sophomore year. So I sent out emails to a number of faculty in departments that interested me. I got a few responses, but I was most interested in my current lab in the Division of Digestive Diseases. It’s an inflammatory bowel disease research center, and I work under my faculty mentor Dr. Michael Koon. I’ve had a few projects since joining the lab, all of which I’ve gotten involved with because I am interested in digestive diseases and clinical/translational research.

How would you describe your research experience at UCLA?

I’ve had nothing but wonderful experiences working in my research lab here at UCLA. My mentor has provided me with the guidance necessary to become familiar with a research setting and has also pushed me to be creative with my own ideas. I enjoy learning from some of the brightest in my field at journal club meetings and am constantly inspired to work harder to advance therapeutics for digestive and metabolic diseases.

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

Find a lab that suits you. It’s important to join a lab and project that you are passionate about because that makes all the difference. When you’re actually excited about what you’re doing, it doesn’t feel like you’re doing work. You’ll enjoy going into the lab each week!

What are your future career goals?

I plan to go to graduate school next fall and earn my PhD in biomedical research with something involving translational research. After graduating, I hope to enter industry and eventually lead my own projects and take over my own lab.