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Undergraduate Research Spotlight: Asia Miller

Posted by on Wednesday, August 5, 2020 in Natural Sciences, Uncategorized.

Undergraduate Research Spotlight : Asia Miller


Q. What inspired you to pursue undergraduate research at Vanderbilt?

A. I loved doing experiments in high school, so I thought that I’d try doing some in college. Once I looked into all of the impressive work that Vanderbilt faculty were up to, I knew I wanted to get involved. Vanderbilt researchers have an impressive array of accolades and interests and I think that there’s something for everyone!

Q. How did you get involved?

A. My freshman year, I first read about the research different professors in the Biological Sciences department were doing. I wanted my major and my research to be in the same field. After identifying 3-5 professors that I wanted to reach out to about positions in their lab, I noticed that one of them was my very own Introduction to Biological Sciences (BSCI 1510) professor, Dr. Bordenstein. I figured that I would go up to him after class and inquire about a position in his lab. After we spoke, I sent a follow-up email further expressing interest in his lab. I later sent him my CV and went to his actual lab for an interview of sorts where I got to meet other lab members.

Q. What do you think has made your undergraduate research experience meaningful thus far?

A. I’ve learned tons of useful techniques like: PCR, gel electrophoresis, insect dissection, microscopy, DNA extraction, and more! I’ve met a bunch of talented and kind people from diverse backgrounds. My mentors have been amazing and I’ve definitely developed as a person. I’ve gotten better at public speaking through presenting my research and I’ve made lifelong friends in my lab and in my research program, SyBBURE. My research also led me toward founding a service-learning organization (the Vanderbilt Undergraduate Microbiome Society) that donated $1000 to Second Harvest Food Bank with the help of the Vanderbilt Microbiome Initiative, the Vanderbilt Institute for Infection, Immunology, and Inflammation, and the Initiative for Personalized Microbial Discovery.

Q. How do you think your experience has prepared you for your future goals beyond Vanderbilt?  

A. I’ve been networking without even knowing it! I’m also on track to be the author of a few publications. I want to go to graduate school after Vanderbilt and I think that my research experience will help me get there.