By Katherine Lelito
Ph.D. Student, Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology
February 28, 2012 - 9:00am
Applying to graduate school was an easy decision for me. I had been carrying out research during my undergraduate and master’s programs, and I liked doing research. Although I enjoyed studying entomology and plant biology, I knew there were so many fields that I hadn’t yet explored. Was there a model organism I could love to study more than bugs?? I suffered from severe commitment phobia of the fields and organisms that I knew too well. I was attracted to the Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology (MCDB) program at U-M because it required its incoming students to rotate through labs before they settled down in a lab. Other programs that I looked at required interested students to “woo” a professor and solidify a position in a specific lab before they were accepted into a program. The MCDB department, upon acceptance to the department, allowed students the opportunity to have multiple, extended research experiences so that students eventually join a lab where they enjoy the research and working environment. MCDB was also the largest and most diverse department I visited, containing many neurobiology, microbiology, biochemistry and cell biology labs. I knew how important it was to find a topic and a professor who really motivated me. Therefore, the opportunity to do rotations in a diverse department was highly influential in my decision to come to the University of Michigan. As it turns out, I learned through my rotations that there was not a model organism that I could love to study more than a bug, and I joined a lab that studies the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.