Washington Research Foundation Fellowships support promising students who work on creative and sophisticated science and engineering research projects under the guidance of UW faculty. Two of our students, Hannah Lea and Yennhi Vohoang , have been awarded 2020-2021 WRF Fellowships.
Hannah is a junior at the University of Washington majoring in biochemistry. Hannah has been a member of the Theberge lab in the UW Department of Chemistry for the past two years. She has had the opportunity to work on multiple projects and has worked with multiple collaborators. Hannah’s favorite part about research is how much she is able to challenge and expand her knowledge through problem solving, thinking of new research projects, and presenting her work to members of the scientific community. Her current project is measuring chemical signals between cells in whole blood using biologically-homing particles. She is excited to continue advancing this project and see the impact she can make in advancing knowledge about signaling that occurs in the blood. After her time at UW, Hannah hopes to become a pediatric oncologist. She wants to combine her passion for medicine, working with children, and research to help patients and increase the research that is done on rare forms of childhood cancer. Hannah would like to thank her PI, Ashleigh Theberge, and all of her other mentors and members in her lab who have helped her to get to the point she is at and who gave her a chance to discover her love for medical research.
Yennhi Vohoang is a senior studying Biochemistry. In her third year, she started working with her current mentor, Dr. Daniel Yang, on a project centered around desmoplakin and cardiovascular disease. They identified a family that was positive for a pathogenic variant of the desmoplakin gene; this variant resulted in a nonsense mutation that resulted in premature truncation. Yennhi is currently investigating the mechanism behind this truncation mutation leading to arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. She mainly works with induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes that were isolated from peripheral blood mononuclear cells. These patient specific stem cell derived cardiomyocytes have the potential to be effective models for arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. After completing her undergraduate degree, Yennhi plans to pursue a PhD dedicated to researching the connection between desmoplakin and cardiovascular diseases. She would like to express her sincere appreciation for all her mentors as well as the Washington Research Foundation for supporting her research.