Kim de Guzman: Tackling Research One Lab at a Time

Meet Kim, a Senior in the College, doing amazing things inside and outside of the lab. Check out below for all of the amazing things she is doing with her research!


Name: Kim de Guzman

Year: Senior

Major: Biology & Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Hometown: San Nicolas, Pampanga, Philippines

Extracurricular Activities: Bio 141 lab TA, Pi Beta Phi, Undergraduate Research


Tameka: How would you describe yourself in five words?

Kim: Resilient, empathetic, sincere, diligent, and carefree 


T: So word on the street is that you're doing big things with your research. Can you tell us a bit about what you research is on and what's happening with the symposium you'll be at?

K: I’m actually doing research for both my majors! For Bio, I’m researching potential genetic markers for these types of cells in the intestines called the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC). Defects in ICC result in loads of issues, like Hirschsprung disease or formation of gastrointestinal stromal tumors so finding ways to identify and label these cells can help for both the pre-screening and post-diagnoses of those and other digestive disorders

For Russian, My honors thesis research is about the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Russia and I want to answer how this disease came about and assess what factors allow the disease to persist so aggressively these past few decades to become the nation’s 3rd leading cause of death

I recently got my Russian and Bio research abstracts accepted for presentation at the Fall Undergraduate Symposium this month. So I’ll be presenting posters back-to-back, just like they do in most symposia. The next one I’m really excited for is the Gulf Coast Coast Undergraduate Symposium in Houston, TX at Rice University. They are flying me out next month to deliver an oral presentation (no poster!) of my Bio research in front of faculty, post-docs, and graduate students from all over. It’ll be my first time flying out of state for a symposium so I’m super hyped!

T: That's awesome! Congrats! How did you get involved with research on campus? What would you say are the highs and lows of it?

K: I took the Maymester Advanced Developmental Biology class and loved every bit of it. I told the professor that I was really interested in his research and that I was looking for a lab so he opened up a spot in his lab for me! My biggest tip for finding a lab is to ask your professors/graduate TAs about joining their or their co-workers' labs. People are always graduating so spots will always need to be filled, so everyone is bound to find something.

Highs are defintely seeing in real time the work you put in expand from small picture to big picture. I mean, pipetting for hours isn’t fun and you usually don’t know what you’re doing when you are starting out. After months of being totally lost, just doing what your boss tells you and asking LOTS of questions, something suddenly hits you and you actually start becoming an expert in whatever you’re doing. Soon you’ll get experienced enough to actually think about how to finish whatever project you’re doing. Honestly, I just had that lightbulb moment last week after two semesters of research so it takes time! 

Lows are obviously when experiments don’t work out and the hours you put in felt like a waste. Also research takes up lots of time so that’s time that could’ve been spent out or with friends. Same is true for my Russian research — I’m just trapped in the stacks 24/7.


T: Any advice for others out there in the labs?

K: Research is what you put into it. If you’re dreading your lab, your boss, and what you’re doing, you’re only wasting time doing something you aren’t passionate about. Working in lab till 2am some nights isn’t something I would ever do if I wasn't passionate about what I was doing or if I thought it was unimportant/a resume booster. It's super simple, do what you like doing and find that reason that keeps you coming back :)


Congrats again to Kim and best of luck to her and her research!!