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Introducing PolyPilot:

Our AI-Powered Mentorship Program

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Natalie T

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)


biology, development, organic chemistry


Hi! My name is Natalie and I am a 5th year graduate student studying blood vessel development. It is estimated that we have over 60,000 miles of blood vessels in our body! Our lab is interested in understanding how the cells that line our blood vessels respond to blood flow. To study this, I model blood using fluidic pumps, and also work with mouse and zebrafish models. Outside of science, I love working out, fashion, and competitively showing dairy cows. Life is too short to study one thing or have one interest, so I love to experience lots of different opportunities!

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Building a Blood Vessel

Use online graphics to illustrate how a blood vessel forms. For this project, we will complete a literature search together to understand what is known about blood vessel growth. Then, you will utilize this information to generate a graphic with no words to demonstrate how the vasculature forms. The goal of this project is to explain science without using text and therefore make it more available to a larger community.

On Brand: What your resume or personal statement says about you

For this project, we can work on identifying what strengths you have as a student and how to incorporate them into a resume or personal statement. I have helped many people learn more about themselves and can teach you how to elevate your experiences for internship or college applications!

What happens to blood vessels during wound injury?

Interested in how your body repairs itself during a cut or injury? For this project we will explore what is known in the literature about how blood vessels regenerate during a wound. We can also address what happens when this process is not controlled properly. To demonstrate your understanding, you can write up a brief literature review or put together powerpoint slides.

Elevator Pitch

Science funding is super important for our community to continue to make advancements in medicine. However, a lot of scientific details are complicated for people to understand. The goal of this activity will be to learn a scientific topic of your interest. Then, you will practice explaining this science during a 1-minute elevator pitch to different audiences. For instance, how you explain blood vessel development to a five-year old might look a lot different compared to explaining science to your grandpa. This is an excellent exercise to learn about science communication! We can then reflect on what worked with different audiences and what did not.

Teaching experience

In undergrad I was a TA for introductory biology, genetics, and organic chemistry. I have also mentored first-year PhD students at UNC. I enjoy finding different ways to make science accessible to all learning types!


Work experience

SCRIPPS Research Institute (2016 - 2016)
Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow
Cooper University Hospital Surgical Skills Department (2015 - 2015)
Undergraduate Research Fellow


Gettysburg College
BS Bachelor of Science (2017)
Biology major and chemistry minor
University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate

Interested in working with expert mentors like Natalie?

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