by Dana Guth, A17
For most undergraduates in the School of Arts and Sciences, heading
up a research project is a distant goal for their graduate or even
post-graduate years. But for seniors Maya Emmons-Bell and Jennifer
Hammelman, leadership in the lab has been a significant part of
their undergraduate education. Each of the two biology majors has
just been listed as the first author of her own study, an uncommon
and impressive feat for undergraduates.
"It's quite rare to have undergraduate first authors," notes Professor Michael Levin, the director of the Tufts Center for Regenerative and Developmental Biology, who oversaw the two students' research. The first author of a study takes primary responsibility for coordinating research with co-authors—in this case, graduate students in the lab and collaborators' labs outside of Tufts—making it a very intensive commitment for a full-time undergraduate.