Alex Piven pulled a tiny vial from a bucket of ice and held it to a ceiling light on the third floor of Leidy Laboratories.
Alex Piven pulled a tiny vial from a bucket of ice and held it to a ceiling light on the third floor of Leidy Laboratories. Weeks earlier, specimens of a coral called Astrangia had been exposed to high-stress, warm temperatures, and now Piven was observing them on a regular basis. The process—tediously decalcifying the coral skeletons—is one way to analyze the effects of hotter temperatures on the coral’s tissue.
Seeing the changes was gratifying to Piven, a second-year student in the School of Arts & Sciences (SAS) who knew she wanted to study biology but wasn’t sure what specifically interested her. She applied to Penn because of the abundant research opportunities. As she scanned the biology offerings from the Penn Undergraduate Research Mentoring (PURM) program offered by the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships, the lab of assistant biology professor Katie Barott caught her attention. Barott’s research focuses on how climate change has distressed corals and reefs—across biological scales, from cells to whole organisms.
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