Melody Haratian

Meet Melody Haratian, a 4th year Psychobiology major. Melody is currently a member of the Integrated and Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Research Program (i2URP), a two-year academic development program that prepares juniors and seniors for graduate studies and careers in biomedical research by improving their comprehension of scientific literature and sharpening their presentation skills. She was also a part of the Undergraduate Research Scholars Program (URSP) during the 2022-2023 academic year, a three-quarter scholarship program that supports students who are conducting a life science, physical science, or engineering research project with a UCLA faculty. We had the chance to speak to Melody about her research experience at UCLA:

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

Although my first year at UCLA was entirely online, there was news that we would be back in-person for the fall of my second year. Thus, the summer after my first year I began emailing different labs with research topics that I was interested in. Some of the labs I emailed offered me an interview, and from there we saw whether or not I would be a good fit for their lab! The interview process mostly checked for what I would be interested in studying in their lab, my time commitment, and my past experiences with laboratory techniques.

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

My research experience at UCLA has been extremely rewarding. Primarily, I have been able to experience what it’s like to be a scientist and learn about different laboratory techniques like immunohistostaining, 3D-reconstruction, and imaging. Many of my courses at UCLA do not cover these laboratory techniques, so it’s nice to be able to experience these at a lab where I’m able to get feedback and support from my lab team. Next, I’m thankful to have met so many wonderful people that I have many things in common with at my lab. All of us in the lab have a passion for discovery and research, which makes it easy to make friends and meet new people. Finally, working at a lab has been a great way for me to understand how to use the scientific method and learn about the trial and error involved in research.

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

I would encourage students to get involved with research as soon as they can. Research is truly a wonderful experience to have at UCLA and there’s so many amazing labs that you can join. You don’t need prior research/lab experience to join a lab, so don’t let that limit you. Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to different professors who you’re interested in working with- if they have spots open I’m sure they’d be happy to have you!

4. What are your future career goals?

My dream is to join an MD/PhD program in Neuroscience (ideally behavioral Neuroscience). Furthermore, I would like to pursue research after graduating and engage in Neuroscience research in different topics.