Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Dessirée Ortaç

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Winter 2022

Research Project: Investigating the Role of MBNL1 in Controlling Cardiomyocyte Proliferation

Project Description: Heart disease is the leading cause of death globally. One reason for the large burden of heart disease is that after injury, the heart is unable to regenerate. My research project addresses this key problem and investigates factors that control the fundamental process which underlies heart regeneration- cardiomyocyte proliferation. This project will determine the effects of MBNL1 expression on stem cell-derived cardiomyocyte proliferation and the mechanisms by which MBNL1 acts to regulate this process. This research will contribute to my field of study by identifying novel mechanisms controlling heart repair and remodeling after injury.

What have you learned throughout your research project?

My time in lab has allowed me to develop various laboratory skills, as well as refine my scientific communication and collaboration skills. I have also developed a better understanding of the scientific process, and the field of biology. I have learned to take ownership of projects, and with the help of my mentors, I have gained a better understanding of concepts covered in my biology lectures. 

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Before starting your application, meet with your mentors to go over the requirements and establish what you want to focus on in your essay. Make sure to start writing early so you have time to get feedback from your mentors as well as someone who has nothing to do with your project. Don’t be afraid to go to one of UW’s writing centers for extra help. This will only make your application stronger.