Research at Hendrix

Zachary Waldrip '10

Zachary Waldrip '10

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major

Graduate Student at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Ark.

Current projects

I work in the labs of Alan Tackett and Kevin Raney. My primary project involves developing a technique for isolating a single genomic element from the rest of the genome. We are interested in isolating and purifying a single piece of DNA, such as a gene, along with its associated regulatory proteins in order to identify those proteins. We hope this tool will help other researchers to better understand how certain genes are regulated or misregulated by providing a means to take a "snapshot" of the proteins present at a given genomic site.

Undergraduate Research

As an undergraduate, I worked in Dr. Thomas Goodwin's laboratory studying mammalian chemical communication. I primarily studied the volatile chemical signals in the urine of male African elephants associated with a rut-like state called musth. My work involved identifying the particular organic compounds in the urine responsible for signaling. I also participated in the investigation of the possibility of bacterial involvement in the generation of these compounds.

How Hendrix prepared me for success

My classes and research experience from Hendrix more than prepared me for graduate school. The rigorous biology and chemistry curriculum at Hendrix put me ahead of the game when it came to my graduate level biology classes at UAMS. Having the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research made it an easier transition into full-time laboratory work in graduate school.

Future plans

My future plans/goals are to graduate with my Ph.D and obtain a post-doctoral fellowship. I would like to eventually run my own research laboratory at an academic institution.

My advice

Work hard in your classes as an undergraduate and take advantage of opportunities such as undergraduate research. Having research experience will give you an edge if you decide to pursue a career in science whether you continue your studies in graduate school or decide to work right out of college. Don't pass up opportunities such as journal clubs and small, advanced classes where you get to discuss science and the literature with faculty on a more one-on-one basis. This is where you really get to learn and understand the field.