Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Kenneth Lai

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Autumn 2021

Research Project: The Genetic Potential That Enables Life to Thrive in Pythia’s Oasis

Project Description: Pythia’s Oasis is a novel freshwater methane seep along the Cascadia Margin discovered in 2014 by scientists at the Ocean Observatory Initiative Regional Cabled Array. My project hopes to use metagenomic analysis to identify the types of bacteria that live within the seep’s fluids as well as the different metabolic pathways that allow these microbes to survive under Pythia’s Oasis’s unique conditions. 

What have you learned throughout your research project?

Participating in research at UW is very different from taking courses as an undergraduate. Research requires collaboration, teamwork, and creativity that I haven’t had as much of a chance to practice in class. 

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Although I have only just begun my time as a Mary Gates Research scholar, I would advise seeking out mentors who have the time and passion to support your career. The potential undergraduates have to create amazing pieces of work can often be under appreciated.