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Alyssa R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD at University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)


Molecular biology, genetics, evolution, education, and nutrional biochemistry


As a molecular biologist, I study the developmental basis of tooth replacement in the threespine stickleback fish and how it compares to other model systems of regeneration and organogenesis. More specifically, I am interested in the genetics and regulation of proliferating cells that underlie tooth renewal. In addition to my dissertation work, I am involved in research & development of STEM education, academic advancement, and outreach. I have a deep passion for making science education more accessible for all. When I'm not in the research lab or teaching, I enjoy spending time outdoors hiking, rock climbing, or riding my bike. This past summer I hiked 800 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail, making my way from California, through Oregon and Washington. I have a strong desire to explore many of the earth's natural wonders and hope to do more backpacking and rock climbing trips abroad.

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.

Central Dogma Board game

Expand upon your current understanding of topics related to biology, chemistry, genetics, and evolution by building a board game that makes complex concepts fun and accessible to the general public. At the intersection of science and education, you will design and build a board game centered around the central dogma of molecular biology (how DNA transcribes RNA to make protein) and how alterations in the coding and non-coding regions affect development and contribute to evolution. In this project, you will break down biochemical processes and demonstrate how small changes in genotype can lead to variations in phenotype.

Stem Cells & Regenerative Medicine

Do you have an interest in the advancement of regenerative medicine? Or maybe how tissues can regrow in some organisms but not others? This project can be catered to fit your specific interests regarding stem cells and regenerating tissues. We will work to write a review paper on current understandings of the field and submit for publication in a journal of your choosing!

Coding skills

R and some Python

Teaching experience

I have 10+ years of experience volunteering in local elementary, middle, and high schools science classes. I have 4 years of experience teaching college-level courses in genetics and cell biology at UC Berkeley, 2 years experience as a private tutor for university level biology, genetics, and chemistry courses, and 5+ years of experience mentoring undergraduates in study skills, time management, and grad school applications.


Work experience

Wyzant Educational Technology (2022 - Current)
Academic Assistant
CSUF (2008 - 2010)
HAZMAT and Emergency Response Technician


California State University, Fullerton (CSU Fullerton)
BS Bachelor of Science (2016)
University of California Berkeley (UC Berkeley)
PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Molecular and Cell Biology

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