Name: Andres Guillen
Mentor: Ken Lau, Ph.D.
Hi! I am Andres Guillen from Lima, Peru. Back home, I am currently working on my undergraduate thesis in Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, where I will be obtaining my Bachelor’s degree in Biology this May 2015. My thesis project focuses on the detection of Leishmania braziliensis, a tropical parasite of major concern in Peru.
I heard about VISRA when I was an intern in a Cell Biology laboratory in Vanderbilt University in 2014 as part of the Research Experience for Peruvian Undergraduates (REPU) program. As I really enjoyed working there, I decided to apply to VISRA to have the opportunity to work in a different lab and gather different research experiences to narrow my scientific interests before pursuing a graduate degree.
This program has allowed me to join Dr. Ken Lau’s lab, which has the goal to understand how inflammatory microenvironments affect epithelial cell behaviors in the context of human diseases, specifically, the role of the stem cell niche in colorectal cancer. I really enjoy discussing ideas in the lab, particularly with Sun Wook Kim, with who I work in the characterization of cells cultured using a gut-on-a-chip device.
Outside of the lab, I like spending time and learning about different cultures with my fellow VISRA mates, as well as visiting Nashville’s diverse attractions with them.
I am thankful to Vanderbilt and the VISRA program for the opportunity that is giving me to enhance my research skills. I highly recommend every undergraduate student thinking on following a career in biomedical sciences to apply to this program, as it is a great research and life experience.