Frankie Villalobos

Meet UCLA senior, Frankie Villalobos, who is majoring in Physiological Sciences with a minor in Chican@ & Central American Studies. In addition to participating in the URC-Sciences Summer Program performing research with UCLA faculty, their first paper was published Fall 2021 in MPDI titled “Mitochondrial Heterogeneity in Metabolic Diseases” that discusses how mitochondrial heterogeneity is both beneficial and detrimental to the cellular system.


How did you first get involved in your research project?

I first got involved in my research project and my lab through my LS23L TA. He helped me get in touch with a graduate student in the Shirihai lab. Since then, I have had the best, and most privileged, experiences and have been able to join on multiple research projects.


How would you describe your research experience at UCLA?

Getting into research at UCLA is one of the more challenging things you can do. Especially if you are looking into either funded research or popular topics like cancer biology. However, there are plenty of resources that will help you get to your goal. As I previously mentioned, my LS 23L TA helped me get into research. Although the TAs are a wonderful way to get into research, there are plenty of other way into getting research. You just need to find out your best path into getting it.


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

Just do it! You won’t know if it’s the right environment for you unless you try it out. Other things to consider are the work environment and your research topic. Also, remember to have fun!


What are your future career goals?

Currently, I’m not sure what my career goal is. I do know that I will be applying to grad school and, hopefully, getting my PhD in Physiology.