As one of the University of Utah College of Science‘s Ambassadors, sophomore Bridget Phillips regularly appears at College events hosting alumni and special guests, and working with faculty and staff to promote science teaching and research at the The University of Utah.
A team member in the Shapiro Lab, she works studying the genetic causes and patterns of variation in the axial skeleton of domestic pigeons.
“Because axial skeleton structure is highly conserved,” she says, “understanding skeletal development in pigeons can tell us about the processes that control skeletal development in other animals as well.”
A Salt Lake native, Bridget is the recipient of the Ole Jensen Scholarship this year. Because of the scholarship, she says, “I’ve been able to dedicate much more of my time to [research in the Shapiro Lab]. I greatly appreciate and deeply value the scholarship.”
Dr. Jensen (BS’72), co-founder of ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers, established an endowment for undergraduate research at the School just last year. He will be at the Retreat this year to receive the 2019 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Bridget’s ambition is to attend graduate school and to continue her research in genetics. “By completing a degree in Biology and a minor in mathematics, I hope to be better equipped to study immunology through genetics and bioinformatics research.”
Favorite Thing About the UofU:
“I was able to start in a wonderful lab as a first-year and be able to live in Crocker Science House with other like-minded science folks.”
Thomas Hunt Morgan, who was able to show that chromosomes have a role in heredity.
Little Known Fact:
“Because all 350 breeds are capable of interbreeding to generate genetic crosses, pigeons provide a unique opportunity to identify specific genes involved in many morphological traits.”