Keya Jonnalagadda

Meet Keya: a fourth-year Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics major. As a Beckman Scholar, Keya will be studying the motility and function of this parasite. She focuses on identifying the interdependencies between proteins within the microtubules of the T. brucei flagellum, as well as characterizing these proteins. Keya hopes to gain a lifelong scientific community through Beckman Scholars to help her build a career in research.


1. How did you first get involved in your research project?

I became involved in my current research project by reaching out to a few labs across the MIMG department. I was (and still am!) especially interested in infectious diseases so when I heard back from Dr. Hill’s lab, I felt it was a good fit. I got involved in my project almost immediately because I was super interested in studying parasites and also because I wanted to learn as many techniques as I could right away. It has just evolved into a larger project since then!

2. How would you describe your research experience at UCLA?

My research experience at UCLA has been great. I really liked having the opportunity as an MIMG student to take classes where I read about current research and learned about molecular biology techniques before I even started volunteering at a lab. And when I did take the leap and start at the Hill Lab, everyone there was accepting and supportive about my career goals in research. I feel that I wouldn’t be where I am today in research without the help of the people I do research with here every day.

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

My advice to students trying to get involved is to just send an email or stay behind after class and talk to your professor about any kind of question or idea you have. Don’t hesitate! The only criteria to get involved with research is to be interested, and as long as you express interest, you will find your place at a great lab.

4. What are your future career goals?

I’m applying to PhD programs this fall in Infectious Diseases and Immunology or Microbiology in the hopes of one day being a research scientist developing real solutions to real global health issues.