Mary Gates Endowment For Students

Teresa Rodriguez

Mary Gates Research Scholar, Autumn 2020

Research Project: Examining Lipid-Specific T Cell Receptors in Rhesus Macaque

Project Description: Tuberculosis is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. Mycobacterium Tuberculosis produces characteristic lipid antigens that are recognized by T cells in the body. The goal of my project is to identify the sequence of a T cell receptor in the Rhesus Macaque species. By studying T cell receptors, we can better understand their function in recognizing lipid antigens. 

What have you learned throughout your project?

Working on this project has helped me to develop greater communication skills and problem-solving abilities. Presenting my progress and data to other members of my lab has provided me with the opportunity to learn how to effectively convey scientific information. A lot of the time experiments don’t go as planned and you get unexpected results! Working with other scientists in the lab to discuss how to interpret the results has allowed me to troubleshoot and learn from each experiment.

What piece of advice would you give to future Mary Gates Scholarship applicants?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions! While working on my application for the scholarship I realized that there were details about my project that I needed help understanding. By meeting with my PI and having discussions about the theory behind my work, I was able to develop a much deeper understanding of my project which I believe helped to strengthen my essay.