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Jenny Coelho in a lab
March 13, 2020

An early research opportunity jump-started a career path

Jenny Coehlo ’20, who is majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry, arrived at Berry with a desire to pursue a research career. When matched with Assistant Professor of Biology Angela Poole as a first-year research assistant, Jenny got an early start on working toward her goal. Fast-forward to 2020: Jenny is interviewing for Ph.D. programs in genetics and molecular biology, with a strong interest in human genetics, genetic disease and gene therapy. Eventually, she would like to conduct biomedical research in countries with a high incidence of disease.

“Dr. Poole, my mentor, advisor and research professor, has been my rock in navigating college and preparing for my future,” Jenny says. “She has taught me countless molecular techniques which I plan to employ in my future.”

Dr. Poole closely guided Jenny in applying to graduate school as well as co-authoring papers and presenting research findings at conferences. “She has been patient, kind and extremely supportive, truly representing the best of Berry’s community and values,” Jenny says.

Jenny received the prestigious Richards Grant, which supports students proposing ambitious two-year projects of scholarly merit. Earlier this year, she made a presentation on her research findings at the Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology annual conference in Austin, Texas: “The Evolution and Role of GTPases of Immunity Associated Proteins (GIMAPs) in Cnidarians.”

During the conference, Jenny had the opportunity to attend a number of presentations and network with like-minded individuals. “This has been a big step in my career, and I am extremely grateful to Berry for providing me with this experience.”

Like other Berry students, Jenny is a person of wide interests. For example, she conducted an independent study, “The Representation of Women in Japanese Folklore,” and presented the results at Berry’s 2019 Symposium on Student Scholarship.

Dr. Poole loved working with Jenny and has high hopes for her future. “Jenny was the first research student that I hired and therefore will always hold a special place in my heart,” Dr. Poole says. “She was integral to setting up my lab and launching my research program. Jenny has an incredible amount of potential, and I am excited for her to experience research beyond Berry and discover what area of biology she is truly passionate about.”

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