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Biology alum finds undergraduate research experience key to her research career

Emilee Gaitten
Bachelor of Science in Biology, 2019

Emilee Gaitten graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Biology from The Ohio State University in spring 2019, and described finishing her degree at Ohio State Marion as, "the best thing that ever could have happened for my education."

After completing her first three years of her degree on the Columbus campus through College Credit Plus, Gaitten transitioned to finish her final year at Ohio State Marion. She shared that she was still able to challenge herself in a smaller class setting that would help prepare her for the future.

In the summer of 2019, Gaitten started her current job as a research assistant at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center (OSUWMC) in the Gumina Lab under the Davis Heart and Lung Research Institute. In the lab, she is responsible for managing a mouse colony of about 350 cages, genotyping each mouse in the colony and completing whatever experiments are needed for grants and manuscripts. The lab uses mouse models, explained Gaitten, "to mimic human cardiovascular disease” and uses this research to help in the overall “regulation of cardiac disease.”

“The most important skills that directly translated from my undergraduate education to my scientific career was my knowledge of PCR and Gel electrophoresis.” Gaitten said. She was first introduced to these skills in her molecular genetics lab with Ohio State Marion Associate Professor of Molecular Genetics, Dr. Ruben Petreaca. “I use these skills every single day in my job,” she added.

“I love what I do and I am very good at it because of my strong foundation from Ohio State Marion,” Gaitten said.

Gaitten noted that thanks to the small class size, she was able to develop her skills as a researcher and gain connections in her intended field.

“The student research that I completed with Dr. Jonathan Calede at Ohio State Marion was the main factor that got me this job at the Wexner Medical Center," she said.

"This specific research also gave me a lot of experience working with a wide variety of animal specimens," Gaitten added, "which was a big help on my resume when applying to this job centered around animal research.”

“Ohio State Marion made me feel like a person who was deserving of an education and help. I always got the help that I needed and had the opportunity to know my professors and the other students in my major. Because of that,” said Gaitten, “my senior year of college was the most successful I have ever been and led me to the career I have today.”