Biology major Erica Chen ’23 is working this summer as an EXCEL Scholar to better understand biological pathways and genetic factors linked to strokes. This information could be valuable to understand why young people without health-related risk factors, like heart disease, suffer from strokes. Chen is collaborating with Eric Ho, associate professor of biology. Ho is a computational biologist who studies the application of DNA sequencing technology in medicine. 

Eric Ho and Erica Chen with laptop

Prof. Eric Ho is mentoring Erica Chen ’23.

Together, they are using common DNA variants to identify biological pathways that contribute to the heritability of the two main types of strokes, hemorrhagic and ischemic. This particular project is appealing to Chen because it incorporates bioinformatics with molecular biology and enables her to utilize topics studied in class to help solve a real-world problem. “This research is important because strokes are one of the leading causes of death and long-term disability worldwide,” she says. “This research is teaching me to keep the ‘big picture’ in mind and always ask questions. As a Lafayette student, this opportunity gives me insight into what research is like outside the classroom. I love the discovery aspect and the uncertainty that research entails. It reinforces my pursuit of a career as a physician-scientist.” 

Learn about other student-faculty research projects.

Undergraduate Research

EXCEL Scholars Program

Lafayette is dedicated to providing students unique academic learning opportunities. Scholars work closely and collaboratively with faculty on significant research projects that hone critical-thinking and communication skills.

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Categorized in: Biology, Class of 2023, Innovation and Research, STEM, Students