Amanda Hagen

Meet recent UCLA graduate, Amanda Hagen who majored in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology. This past Spring, Amanda was awarded the Undergraduate Science Journal’s Best Review Article for, “Modeling Germ Cell Development to Advance In Vitro Gametogenesis.”

As an undergraduate Amanda was a part of Dr. Amander Clark’s lab in the Department of Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology.


How did you first get involved in your research?

I first got involved in research at UCLA through the club Environmental Student Network. I was recommended to join the LA Mammals research group my freshman year at UCLA and spent around a year working on a project studying transmission of the bacteria Leptospira among mammals. After switching my major to Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, I decided to pursue different research opportunities. I discovered my love for molecular biology research after working as a summer research associate at UCSB in the Clegg Lab studying macular degeneration using stem cells. The following year at UCLA I joined the Clark Lab where I have spent the past two years using stem cells to study germline development.

How would you describe your research experience at UCLA?

My research experience at UCLA, particularly my time in the Clark lab, has been the most beneficial learning experience in terms of career preparation and growth as a scientist in all my time at UCLA. I had amazing mentors that taught me everything from molecular biology laboratory techniques to scientific presentation skills. Although, above all I found life-long friendship in the fellow scientists working in the lab.

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

My biggest piece of advice for other students wanting to get involved in research at UCLA would be to join the Biomedical Research minor. This program offers many classes that prepare students for research and most importantly help students get into a lab of their choice!

What are your career goals and/or your plans post-graduation?

After graduation, I am moving to Boston to work in the Biotechnology field. I will be joining the company GC Therapeutics as a research associate and will be researching stem cell therapies. My long-term careers goals are to study molecular biology and bioinformatics in graduate school after working for a few years.