Morgan Martin (G4, Wirth Lab)

Where are you from and what do you enjoy most about your hometown?

I’m a Southern city girl born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. There are sooo many wonderful things about my city, but my absolute favorite would have to be the food. With every type of restaurant ranging from hole-in-the-wall to Michelin starred representing any cuisine you can think of, Atlanta is a foodie’s paradise. I make a list of old and new spots that I want to visit every time I go home, and I enjoy those meals with family and friends.

What is your research focused on?

My research broadly focuses on understanding the mechanisms of survival Plasmodium falciparum parasites utilize to withstand antimalarial drug pressure and further studying genetic variations contributing to this survival, mainly in an African genetic context. My current project investigates the risk of artemisinin (drug) resistance emerging specifically in the West African country of Senegal via both well-researched and understudied pathways.

What is your favorite part of your research?

Exploring parasitology for the first time in grad school has been an exciting challenge thus far. Outside of the plethora of techniques/skills that I am developing, I absolutely love the clear, translatable nature of my research and that it contributes to both scientific knowledge and public health practices on an international level. Getting the chance to travel to Senegal for project-related affairs was amazing, and I hope to take advantage of more opportunities I never dreamed of along the way.

How do you relax when you’re not working?

I’ve always enjoyed dancing, and so I try to take full advantage of being a member of The Dance Complex. They offer classes and workshops for every style of dance you can think of, so that’s my second home. I also go to the movies at least two to three times a month with my boyfriend, and we try to eat at a new spot as much as possible whenever possible. : )

Tell us about an activity outside of lab you’re involved in and why it’s important

For the past two years, I’ve served as a peer mentor coordinator for the Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program (SHURP) here at Harvard. This program is important to me because I participated in SHURP as an undergrad in 2019 (along with Esrah, my cohort buddy!), and my experience was the reason I applied to BPH in the first place. To now be on the other side helping other minority students build community, gain scientific exposure, and leave with remarkable experiences is fulfilling in ways that I’m still uncovering.