Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Natalie Au

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Winter 2022 & Autumn 2022

Project Title: Non-invasive detection of mutations in pediatric venous malformations patients using cell-free DNA

Project Description: Determining the efficacy of cell-free DNA (cfDNA) in blood plasma as a molecular diagnostic tool for patients with venous malformations. Peripheral and intralesional plasma cfDNA are evaluated on droplet digital PCR to quantify the presence of known pathogenic variants.

What have you learned throughout your research project?

Throughout my time at the Bennett Lab, I have gained a wide set of scientific knowledge and bench-side skills, pertaining to not only my research project, but also in the extended world of genetics. I learned the value of mentorship and collaboration within the lab, and I am so grateful for my lab mates and all the opportunities that I have been presented with. My research experience changed the trajectory of my career; I am excited to see what the future holds for the lab and myself.

What piece of advice do you have for future applicants?

Stay open-minded and make meaningful connections. Trust the process and work hard!