Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Chhy Chhy Yeak

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Autumn 2023

Research Project: Exploring Cellular Senescence in Aging Mice Tongue

Project Description: Cellular senescence is one hallmark in the biology of aging in which senescent cells stop growing and dividing, accumulating over time. These cells secrete factors called SASP, or senescence-associated secretory phenotype, which are involved in inflammation and cancer. In this study, female and male young (4-6 months), old (20-22 months), and rapamycin-treated mice (20-22 months) tongues were used to identify potential senescence markers for oral cancer and other age-related diseases.

What have you learned throughout your research project?
I learned that it’s okay to ask for help. While it’s good to be independent and try to figure things out for myself first, I realized that our mentors and labmates are people who would be happy to support us in any way they can because we are all a team. It’s okay to ask them questions as it will push both our understandings of our research work. And most importantly, it’s okay to mess up and ask for a second try because we are all just students doing our best.
What advice do you have for future applicants?
When sharing your story, be honest, creative, and vulnerable. Use your resources! There are advisors ready to help make your application process easier. You should also keep a constant communication with your mentor throughout the process.