OUR Student Ambassadors are a group of undergraduate researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill who work with the Office for Undergraduate Research in the College of Arts & Sciences to promote a culture of research on campus. We shine a spotlight on three of them during University Research Week, Oct. 19-23.
Name: Sriya Kongala
Hometown: Cary, North Carolina
Major and graduation year: Class of ’22, biology major, minors in Spanish for the Health Professions and medical anthropology
Your research focus: I am currently involved in a project that studies how the presence or absence of CXCL5 (which plays a role in fighting infections) and ApoE (a protein involved in the metabolism of fats in the body) play a role in the development of atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a type of heart condition which refers to a buildup of a combination of fats and cholesterol, which creates plaque on the artery walls, often leading to more severe heart disease. I specifically work with the aortas of mice models to help prepare them and find out how much plaque has developed.
Why I do research: Doing research has been an awesome way to apply skills I’ve learned from class like doing PCR and running gels, among others. More than that, my lab has challenged me to learn new research techniques and skills, some of which I had no clue existed before I began working here, and continues to help me push the boundaries of my scientific knowledge! Although I am just an intern, I hope the work I do one day can help my lab positively impact someone with atherosclerosis and help potentially discover new treatments for this disease.