Mericien Venzon
Undergraduate Research Assistant
mvenzon@ucla.edu

Mericien is a second year undergraduate Biology major. After taking an introductory biology class with Professor Michael Alfaro, she discovered her interest and enthusiasm for evolutionary biology. As a freshman she conducted research studying the morphological effects of selection on reproductive behavior in honeybees. At the beginning of her second year, she started work on a research project in the field of molecular evolution investigating and modeling possible signatures of relaxed selective pressures at specific disease-associated loci in the human genome. As a newcomer to the Alfaro lab, she is currently working on a project that is exploring evolutionary relationships among fish species through phylogenetic analyses that utilize a new technique of DNA amplification and sequencing.

Mericien's interests include molecular evolution, disease ecology, bioinformatics and statistics. She aspires to pursue an MD-PhD degree after graduation and ultimately hopes to use evolutionary medicine to develop new approaches to disease pathology and treatment.