Margaret Mungai

Margaret Mungai, Undergraduate student, Biology, Spanish

Examines causes of diabetes

• Hometown: Nairobi, Kenya; Des Moines, Iowa
• Faculty mentor/advisor:  Dale Abel, Professor, Internal Medicine
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? I am an undergraduate majoring in Biology with a Spanish minor. I will graduate in May 2020.
• Please describe your research: I investigate how impaired metabolism and cellular signaling in skeletal muscle leads to Type 2 Diabetes
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? According to the American Diabetes Association’s National Diabetes Statistics Report in 2017, Diabetes kills more Americans every year than AIDS and breast cancer combined.  More importantly, the metabolic and cellular signaling etiology of Diabetes is not well understood.  Therefore, the goal of my research is to understand metabolic defects in patients who develop diabetes and we hope that this will lead to development of novel treatments that can ameliorate or cure insulin resistance in diabetic patients.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? I began conducting research during my second year.
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? Research has provided me with a platform to augment a myriad of my skill sets such as improving my critical thinking, allowing me to focus on achieving goals, improving my grit to confront cumbersome situations, and has allowed me to become an independent thinker.
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? My long-term aspirations are to acquire a M.D., Ph.D. from a Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) that will bolster the development of my critical thinking, my ingenuity for scientific discovery, and that will mold me in to a well-organized and emotional intelligent physician scientist who can cultivate the advancement of medicine and its translation into improving the clinical practice.

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