Xuemin (Sheryl) Lu is named the undergraduate research director for the College of Science, replacing Dominic Chaloner, who has taken the position of director of undergraduate studies for Environmental Sciences.
Lu, assistant teaching professor in the Department of Biological Sciences, has broad research and training experience in developmental biology, molecular genetics and cancer genomics, including innovative research with two Nobel Laureates.
“Professor Lu’s experiences will be invaluable as she leads undergraduates through the process of obtaining scientific research experiences,” says Mary Galvin, the William K. Warren Foundation Dean. “I would also like to thank Dominic Chaloner for 10 years of excellence in guiding numerous students toward successful scientific careers through our undergraduate research program.”
Lu believes a team effort among students, faculty and administration is the best way to drive the undergraduate research program to excellence. “Undergraduate research is the best way to learn science and understand the process of scientific discovery,” she says. “Moreover, the problem-solving skills, ability to communicate research results through presentation and writing, team work, and persistence when encountering difficulties are all essential traits for future success no matter what career path the students choose. These all can be potentially gained through participation in undergraduate research.”
Though new in her role, Lu already has several suggestions for students as they decide to pursue undergraduate research. First, students should seek out labs whose research aligns well with their own interests, Lu says. Then, students should study the lab’s most recent publications and reach out to professors to ask about possible opportunities. “Of course, the most important quality a professor looks for when he or she selects undergraduate students is whether the student seems committed to research,” Lu says.
Lu joined the University in 2016 after various teaching and mentoring experiences at Princeton, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Baylor College of Medicine, among others. She earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Princeton in 2010.