Katherine Xu

I am a sixth year Ph.D. Candidate in the Nutritional and Metabolic Biology Doctoral Program and NIH/NIDDK Kirschstein NRSA predoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Jonathan Barasch at Columbia University Medical Center. I completed my undergraduate B.S. degree in Biology at Duke University and obtained my master’s degree at the Columbia University Institute of Human Nutrition prior to beginning my doctoral training. I am interested in studying the cell-specific gene expressions and molecular mechanisms of kidney injury and infection in mouse models. I hope to translate my discoveries to the clinical setting and advance personalized diagnosis and treatment of kidney diseases. I have also served as the Women in Science at Columbia (WISC) Social and Educational Outreach Chair and participated in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med into Grad Program at Columbia University.

My graduate school colleagues and I founded the SMRI Program because we saw an important need to provide opportunities for highly motivated high school students from disadvantaged backgrounds to engage in hands-on biomedical research. We wanted to create an environment where these students are exposed to the fundamental concepts and techniques in molecular biology research with guided mentorship from graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and real world immersion in laboratories at Columbia University. We believe SMRI gives our students a first-hand glimpse into the lives of scientists working on cutting-edge research and allows these students to explore career opportunities in scientific research in academia, medicine, and industry.