Katya McDonald ’22 Researches Late Onset Neonatal Sepsis at the Mayo Clinic Posted on September 2nd, 2021 by

Katya McDonald '22 (left) with Dr. Kathryn Knoop at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN

This summer, Katya McDonald ’22 traveled to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota to join Dr. Kathryn Knoop’s lab in the immunology department. On Dr. Knoop’s research team, McDonald tested breast milk samples for bioactive compounds that could advance treatment options for late onset neonatal sepsis, an infection that occurs in babies, especially pre-term infants, 72 hours after birth.

McDonald found this opportunity at Mayo through her Gustavus advisor, Dr. Laura Burrack (biology) who she worked with last summer researching antifungal drug resistance in different species of yeast. Dr. Burrack connected McDonald with various summer research program applications, including the position at Mayo.

McDonald’s advice for prospective research students is “Just shoot your shot…apply to a bunch [of programs], talk to your advisor, and plan it early. You can handle it.”

“The people that are doing these [programs] like to work with undergrads so they’re not expecting you to know everything. They are interested in teaching and working with you, so you are welcome,” she added.

McDonald and Dr. Knoop present at the Mayo Immunology Surf Symposium

McDonald’s favorite parts of her research at Mayo were the on-campus resources and the connections she made in the program working alongside graduate students. Researching on Dr. Knoop’s team “has shown me that I want to pursue a PhD” and “helped me develop confidence in myself and my lab abilities,” she said.

McDonald presented her research at the Mayo Immunology Surf Symposium this summer. She also hopes to present at Gustavus’s Fall Research Symposium and the Midstates Consortium this year.


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