Collage of Stanford Biosicences students using pipettes for research

Student Profile: Molly Lowndes

Molly Lowndes
  • Hometown: Madison, Wis.
  • Undergraduate: BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Home Program: Cancer Biology
  • Thesis Lab: Dr. James Nelson

Please describe your research area and interest.

I work on a cell-cell adhesion complex called the desmosome. This complex is crucial for maintaining the integrity of epithelial tissues. I'm interested in how proteins within the desmosome, called cadherins, bind to one another to regulate the adhesiveness of the complex.

Why did you decide to attend Stanford?

The avenues of research at Stanford were very diverse and there appeared to be a very strong graduate community.

What do you like best about graduate school at Stanford?

I like the independence that graduate school offers. Also, at Stanford, I am surrounded by brilliant people and I can almost always find someone to bounce ideas off of to improve my work.

Who are your sources of support at Stanford?

I have several sources of support that have helped me succeed at Stanford. My mentor allowed me to pursue my own ideas but was always there if I needed guidance. My lab members also kept me focused and created an amazing workplace to go to every day—they were with me for the highs and the lows that come with research. I also gained a scientific family through groups like the Stanford Biosciences Student Association (SBSA). I worked with amazing staff and students, which turned into invaluable friendships.

What activities are you involved in outside of research?

I enjoy playing on sports teams, such as wallyball and softball, as well as attending college and professional sports games in the Bay Area. I have also taken advantage of the amazing opportunities to see a variety of performances, from ballet to rock concerts. In addition, the surrounding area is beautiful. and I love taking short trips to places like Napa or Lake Tahoe.

How do you bring diversity to Stanford Biosciences?

I bring diversity to the Stanford Biosciences Program by organizing a variety of programming to strengthen the graduate community. I think it is crucial to facilitate connections between graduate student groups, and based on personal experiences, I know that getting to know people outside your own academic and social background improves the graduate experience.

What is your dream job/long-term career goals?

My dream job is to run a lab at a moderately sized university where I can balance teaching and mentoring with cutting-edge scientific research.

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