A Look Inside a BC Lab
As a leading research institution, Boston College is home to some of the nation’s most talented faculty and students. Learn more about the research of two of the very best: Assistant Professor Michelle Meyer, recent recipient of a prestigious Sloan Fellowship, and undergraduate research assistant Mark Soo ’14, who works in her comparative genomics lab in Higgins Hall.
Assistant Professor, Biology Department
What makes your genomics work unique?
My research group is currently analyzing data produced by the Human Microbiome Project to understand how bacteria regulate genes in the human body. As we discover more about the relationship between bacteria cells and human cells, our research will contribute to the development of targeted antibiotics and other beneficial therapies.
How is research important to an undergraduate education?
Scientific research, by definition, expects students to keep asking questions. This process encourages them to appreciate how much we don’t know about the world and fosters critical thinking and analytical skills—important attributes for success.
Why should the BC community support research at the Heights?
The University’s collective research activities have important impacts in our struggles against diseases, such as HIV and malaria, and on our fundamental understanding of natural phenomena. These endeavors are worth supporting as part of our mission to both understand—and improve—the world in which we live.
Mark Soo '14
Why did you choose Boston College?
I love history as much as biology, and I saw in a BC education the possibility to pursue liberal arts studies as well as scientific research. This reflects the Jesuit commitment of educating “the whole person,” which I felt was more important than strict focus in one area.
What is the most valuable lesson you've learned in the lab?
When you take an exam in class, you’re asked a question, you answer it, and that’s it—you’re either right or wrong. In the lab, it’s rarely that simple. There is a constant process of refining your techniques. It takes persistence to come back and attack the same question in new ways every single day.
What are your plans after graduation?
In the long term, I hope to enter academia and share my passion for biology with others. For me, my BC education is not just about getting a job; it is about lifelong development and becoming a better person.