Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Moeko Agata

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Winter 2022

Research Project: Effects of Rab Proteins in Resistance to Tuberculosis

Project Description: Tuberculosis (TB) is the second leading infectious killer worldwide and due to a lack of an efficacious vaccine, increase in drug resistance, and long treatment regimens, it has become increasingly harder to control. After heavy exposure to Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), the bacteria that causes TB, most individuals become infected. However, there are some individuals who have extreme Mtb exposure yet continue to test negative for TB, and accordingly, can be characterized as naturally resistant. Rab proteins have been found to be differentially expressed in these tuberculosis-resistant individuals. This research project focuses on identifying the specific Rab proteins that modulate the immune response to Mtb which may provide targets for the development of host-directed therapeutics (HDTs), which is a promising approach to the treatment of TB. 

What have you learned throughout your research project?

Throughout the course of this research project, I have learned how to plan, run, and present the findings of my own experiments to others, as well as improving my time management skills and ability to persevere. I think perseverance is one of the most important skills to have in your life, but especially when doing research. Experiments may not always go the way you expect, and that’s okay! Sometimes new discoveries are made when you least expect, so keep pushing forward and giving it your all!

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Find something you truly enjoy studying! Your passion will get you through the hard days and will help you get the most out of your experience! UW has so many amazing faculty members who love helping students so reach out to them and don’t give up, you’ve got this!