By Gabby Benedict, CEC Student Reporter
Minh Thai is a senior at Miami University who is majoring in Biomedical Engineering and is spending the summer working on her research project. Thai became involved in this research project by accident.
“I was looking for a research opportunity during my freshman year, so I went to the Office of Research for Undergraduates to ask about the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) program, [but unfortunately] they said that I should have registered for it in the summer. Fortunately [for me], Ms. Martha Weber introduced my present mentor to me, so I have been working with him ever since then,” Thai said.
Thai is currently working with Michael A. Kennedy, an Eminent Scholar and Professor in the Department of Chemistry, Paper and Biochemistry on this project.
Her research involves engineering an oncolytic virus to target the HMGA1 transcription factor in pancreatic cancer cells. Additionally, Thai said that the research direction in the future would focus on trying to incorporate many sequences into one virus to see its effectiveness of killing cancer cells.
“For now, we are making different virus plasmids with different DNA sequences to 'inactivate' the HMGA1 protein," Thai said.
This summer, Thai claims she has been able to learn much more about the techniques used in the lab and about the big picture of her research ideas.
Sometimes time constraints during the school year presented obstacles to research. Conducting research during the summer is perfect for her now open schedule. She is enjoying the time she has this summer to learn more about mechanisms behind experiments and the biological reactions.
Conducting research was a part of Thai’s original plan when attending Miami, so this summer project was a great opportunity for her to follow through with her future research goals.