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Jordan K

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at University of California - Los Angeles


Stem cells, Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Cancer Metabolism, Microbiology, Pathogenesis, Metabolism, Microscopy


I'm a PhD student at UCLA currently finishing my degree at UCSF. I use Drosophila (fruit flies) as a model system to study stem cell behavior, dynamics, and metabolism. Drosophila are a great model system because 1) it is a living animal 2) there are an unparalleled amount of research tools available and 3) the tissues produce beautiful staining patterns that are observed via microscopy. I'm from a small town in Illinois and am the first in my family to go to college. I received my Bachelor's degree the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Molecular and Cellular Biology. During my time at UIUC, I worked in a microbiology lab where I learned a ton about molecular biology and biochemistry. This is where I fell in love with science and ultimately the reason I decided to pursue a PhD. Outside of work I enjoy kicking back, soaking in nature, playing video games, and eating good food!

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.

Literature Review and Research Proposal

This project is applicable to any topic. An essential part of Science is forming a solid plan. In order to do that, we need to first educate ourselves on what is currently known. There are many online resources for finding the most up-to-date facts and cutting edge research. During this phase, the student will also learn the basics of major laboratory techniques and how to apply them to the topic. After we've familiarize ourselves with the topic, we then start the hard work: thinking of the next steps. During this phase the student will form scientific hypothesizes and describe the experiments they would do in order to address those hypothesizes. This project emcompasses two foundational aspects of doing scientific research and is a great exercise for future STEM graduates, as documents like this are routine in all fields of research.

Teaching experience

I have mentored peers in the lab in basic molecular and cellular biology techniques throughout my career. I have also worked as a Teaching Assistant at UCLA for two quarters, teaching a molecular and cellular biology course. During those two quarters, I provided my students with a "safe place to fail" and saw incredible growth in my students' ability to comprehend complex scientific problems.



University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign (UIUC)
BS Bachelor of Science (2017)
Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of California - Los Angeles
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Stem cell behavior

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