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Isaryhia R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at California Institute of Technology (CalTech)


I got my bachelors in Microbiology and Immunology with a research focus in molecular biology and genetics. For my PhD at Caltech I am working in a lab focused on molecular biology of Drosophila Embryonic Development


Hello! My name is Isaryhia, but you can feel free to call me Isa. I am a second-year Ph.D. student at Caltech researching the molecular biology of transcriptional regulators in Drosophila melanogaster. I am the first in my family to have earned a college degree and come from a low-income non-academic background. I earned my bachelor's of science from UC Irvine where I studied microbiology and immunology and had a research focus on genetics and genomics performing RNA-seq on insect parasitic nematodes and later mouse skeletal muscle cells. I have been working in research for the past 5 years and served as an IMSD and MARC NIH-funded scholar during my undergraduate. I have been published twice in scientific journals and participated in 5 national conference presentations and won 3 awards for outstanding presentations. I am an avid reader with a love for sci-fi and science non-fiction works. I enjoy swimming, watching Parks and Rec, and spending time traveling! I love sharing my science and mentoring students and engaging them with science! I also love learning about parasites and microbes, and nematodes are my favorite animal next to snails. Ultimately, as a first-generation low-income latinx woman in STEM, I have had the amazing privilege to be mentored by wonderful women and men in STEM and I hope to be able to pay that forward.

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.

Universal tools: Understanding the role of Transcription Factors in Genome maintanance

Transcription factors (TFs) are key proteins and gene regulators which play diverse and important roles in regulating expression of genes within cells. While there are some unique TFs which play specific and isolated roles, many TFs are used and reused in unique and common combinations to produce a specific cell type identity, cell activation as well as participate in important key steps during development. A research paper on one such set of common TFs like P53 and MYC in cancer, or OCT4 and SOX2 in stem cells, would not only introduce the important of these universal protein tools but also demonstrate how combinatorics is central to understand how universal tools are used to build unique cell identities from all the genetic info stored in our genomes.

Coding skills

R, Bash, some python, Single-cell annd Bulk RNA-seq analysis

Teaching experience

I have worked as part of a summer program for high school students designed to engage them in wet lab and computational research where i taught wet lab skills and computation at UC Irvine. I am currently a part of the WAVE summer student council at Caltech working with summer research undergraduates. I am also a visiting scientist volunteering to teach part of the science curriculum to Pasadena elementary school students as part of the 3rd grade team.



University of California Irvine (UCI)
BS Bachelor of Science (2021)
Micorbiology and Immunology
California Institute of Technology (CalTech)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Cellular and Molecular Biology

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