Yan Sweat, Ph.D. student, Cell and Developmental Biology
Traces genetic origins
• Hometown: Henan, China
• Faculty mentor/advisor: Brad Amendt, Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology
• What is your degree program and expected graduate date? PhD, Cell and Developmental Biology, May 2020
• Please describe your research: We use mouse models to study the underpinnings of ankyloglossia(tongue-tie), oral facial clefting and tooth development. This study contributes to the clinic by showing that ankyloglossia might be related to future dental defects in patients.
• In simple terms, why does this research matter? Ankyloglossia occurs in up to 10% of newborns and cleft lip and cleft palate are the most common congenital craniofacial anomalies. In order to discover new treatments for these diseases and to improve our ability to predict who is at risk for them, we need to understand the genetic factors that contribute to them.
• How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research? Right away! I was directly admitted into the Cell and Developmental Biology program by my mentor Dr. Brad Amendt. The first day I arrived in Iowa, one of my lab mates picked me up from the airport and brought me to the lab to meet everybody. Ever since that day, I’ve considered the lab my second home!
• How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa? My research has definitely helped me develop confidence and self-reliance in every-day life. The skills that are required to conduct successful experiments, like trouble shooting something that’s not working, are useful for so many things!
• What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation? After graduation, I plan to find a postdoc position to use my knowledge and technical skills to study stem cell regeneration and have my own laboratory in the future.
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