Abigail Gutierrez

Say hello to Abigail: a fourth-year Neuroscience major. As a member of the De Biase lab, Abigail studies Microglia: dynamic, macrophage-like cells within the CNS. They remove cellular debris and pathogens from surrounding tissue and exert powerful neuroprotective and/or neurotoxic effects during disease and injury. She also participates in the Louis Stokes California Alliance for Minority Participation (CAMP),  whose goal is to enhance diversity in STEM fields at the PhD and faculty level by providing financial and professional development support to students from groups underrepresented in these fields. Abigail was kind enough to answer a few questions regarding her research experience:

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

I was first involved in health disparities research my sophomore year. That experience made me realize I love the process of research, however I wanted to do something that enriched my passion and major, Neuroscience. Being placed in the wonderful MD/PHD Richard Morgan MSTP program, led me to be placed in Dr. De Biases lab. This is where I have been researching Microglial-Extracellular matrix interactions related to memory and neuronal function in aged mice!

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

My research experience at UCLA has been extremely enriching and
insightful. Research has definitely shown me the need for scientists, there is a lot more we don’t know in science. Since joining I feel that I have developed strong critical thinking skills and a love for research. There is nothing quite like creating your own ideas and creating a plan on how to evaluate those ideas. Being with a group of like minded people has given me extreme confidence to pursue my goals:)

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

My one piece of advice is to remember your background before you compare yourself to other undergraduates in the lab. Some people might have had lab experience in high school while you may have had none. Just remember you can get on any level with hard work.

4.) What are your future career goals?

My future career goal is to get an MD/PHD in neuroscience!


You’re doing an awesome job, Abigail! Keep up the great work!