Undergraduate Research at UK with Gareth Voss - Part 1

Uploaded by universityofkentucky on 16.02.2012

My name is Gareth Voss and I’m a freshman at UK, and I’m getting a major in Biology
and Chemistry.
At Dunbar in the Math-Science program, we have to join a faculty member at UK for a
research project by the beginning of our junior year. And I heard about a professor at UK,
who shared the same last name and the same first name--more or less--as my dad and his
name is Randall Voss and he studies salamanders and regeneration and other molecular genetics
kind of things. Things kind of clicked--and I’ve been there ever since.
Well, the first time I visited the lab the spring of my sophomore year in high school.
Really, all I saw then were all the animals, and they live in small plastic bowls, and
they get fed little worms that look kind of like clumps of hair. Some live in shoeboxes.
I was just fascinated a lot by what they looked like, and how they lived, and how they were
raised. And then just the whole idea that surgery to remove the hand of a salamander
would result in the salamander just growing it back--and its adaptation in the wild--I
just found it fascinating.
My project was focused on the regeneration of the salamanders on the tail portion. I
was not allowed to do any of the surgeries to remove the tails, but I was able to do
the data analysis on the tails, and do a lot of interesting things in studying the regeneration
of these salamanders.
With a lot of the things in research and education, getting an early start is really an advantage.
Getting started early gets you exposed to all the things you need to know. Like, by
starting in this lab early, I was exposed to some more things in genetics than, say,
most people my age would have been. But actually going out and working in the lab, it not only
puts you on the cutting edge of research and science, but it also lets you see all the
things your classes are talking about--in person, and to a greater extent.
When I realized I could go to UK and that I could stay with Dr. Voss and keep working
in the lab, I was really excited. So I jumped on it.