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Will H

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Princeton University


Molecular Biology, Virology, Metabolism, Immunology, Proteomics


Hello! My name is Will Hofstadter and I am a PhD candidate at Princeton University in the molecular biology department. I received my undergraduate from Northwestern University where I majored in biology and minored in biotechnology and biochemical engineering. I am interested in how form relates to function at the molecular scale and I am currently researching how alteration to organelle shape can influence function during viral infection. I would never have found my passion without the early exposure to science that my parents gave me and so I seek to mentor and teach the younger generations to help foster that same excitement. When not in the lab, I enjoy staying active through swimming and volleyball as well reading a good book or playing with my pet python.

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.

What makes a virus dangerous?

Viruses are dynamic systems which employ diverse mechanisms in order to infect cells. It is therefore not surprising that infection has differing levels of severity on the host's wellbeing. Are there any general trends in a viruses replication cycle (length of replication, pathways activated e.g.) or structure (RNA vs. DNA genome, size of genome e.g.) which are correlated with the severity of illness that the virus causes? Comparison of viral lifecycles coupled with the diseases, mortality and morbidity rates could give answers to this question.

Eternal battle between host and pathogen

Pathogens and the hosts that they infect are constantly at odds, each vying to gain an advantage over the other. Whenever host systems evolve a new strategy to thwart infection, the pathogen adapts and evolves a novel mechanism of infection. Students can write a review on host-pathogen interactions and how this influence the adaptation of both sides

How do viral infections lead to disease?

Viral infections are often associated with debilitating and deadly diseases (SARS CoV-2 and COVID-19; HIV and AIDS e.g.). How can a virus, which is at best a small clump of protein and nucleic acids, cause these systemic issues in humans?

Learning how to read a research article

Scientific articles can be very difficult to interpret and convoluted to understand without a lot of prior knowledge. However, there are ways to break down an article and make sure you get everything out of it as well determine whether you agree with the conclusion of the authors. We will go through a biological article each session and work on thinking critically about each article.

Coding skills


Languages I know

Spanish, basic

Teaching experience

I am a fifth year PhD student at Princeton University. While studying here I have served as a teaching assistant for 3 different biology classes, as well as individually mentored 3 undergraduates and multiple graduate students. Prior to Princeton, I taught biology to middle schoolers in Vietnam through the Coach for College program. I have also mentored several high schoolers through Polygence who have gone on to present their work.



Northwestern University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2019)
Princeton University
MS Master of Science
Molecular Biology
Princeton University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Molecular Biology

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