Zehao Wu ’26
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Naturalizing the Environmental Experience of “Model Mammals” for Immunology and Beyond
Certificate(s): East Asian Studies, Environmental Studies
In many biomedical experiments, lab mice are considered “model mammals.” However, immune profile differences contribute to a disparity between mice and clinical results. At Stony Ford Research Station, I participated in a study of how releasing lab mice into a natural environment impacts how their immune system responds to parasitic nematode (Trichuris muris) infection. In the field, I assisted with cleaning the mouse feeders, refilling food and water and fecal sampling. I also edited camera footage of mouse activity to present to the lab and assisted with compiling daily reports that checked the number of mice and the number of escapees. I found that observing mice’s behavior patterns and social interactions was one of the most captivating aspects of the work. Through this experience, I gained a more robust knowledge of fieldwork logistics and a more advanced understanding of R programming. This internship affirmed my interest in the intersection of environmental science and immunology. Although fieldwork was initially challenging, I plan to continue researching immunology and environmental science through lab or fieldwork.
Biodiversity and Conservation
The Graham Group, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton University - Princeton, New Jersey
Andrea Graham, Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Yoon Chang, Ph.D. candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; David Chang van Oordt, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology; Alec Downie, Ph.D. candidate, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology