Reagan Beliakoff

Organization: University of Florida

Position Title: Research Assistant

I recently graduated from the University of Florida with a major in microbiology and cell science and a minor in bioinformatics. I am 20 years old, and preparing to start my PhD in microbiology this fall. I graduated from Ponte Vedra High School in 2017 after completing the four-year Biotechnology and Medical Research Academy that was offered there. It was this academy that helped me discover my passion for microbiology and scientific research. I hope to have a career in academic research, and eventually want to become a professor and a PI at a university.
Preparing for the BACE credential exposed me to a variety of laboratory techniques that are essential for success in any life science laboratory. I became familiar with equiptment, protocols, and concepts that allowed me to easily settle into a college laboratory once I got to UF. It also gave me a talking point in interviews for undergraduate research positions, allowing me to demonstrate that I had more lab experience than the average undergraduate college student. This contributed to my ability to find the perfect mentor and lab to work in during my undergraduate degree.
In general, I work with lab techniques that allow me to study bacterial gene regulation, and how changes in external stimuli illicit a response in bacterial regulatory networks. I recently completed my first independent project, in which I was studying a transcription factor from a novel probiotic strain of Lactobacillus johnsonii. I am also currently working with my PI to develop course curriculum for a new course at UF on lab techniques to study prokaryotic gene regulation.
I absolutely love the feeling I get when I have a successful experiment that teaches me something new about whatever I'm working on. Making discoveries is the most exciting feeling in the world to me.
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