Marcus Kilwein

Graduate Student, The Welte Lab

You work in a laboratory.  What are you currently researching?

I am researching how Drosophila embryos utilize their fat reserves.  Our lab and others have demonstrated that lipid droplets (fat storage organelles) are highly motile, but little is known about the functions of this motility. I am investigating how this lipid droplet motility affects fat utilization throughout embryonic development.

What was it that originally sparked your interest in biology?

Steve Irwin and Jeff Corwin. I have a vivid memory of being about 4 years old and watching Jeff pick up a snake on TV and say, “Don’t try this at home; I can do this because I am a biologist.”  I now have two degrees in biology - but I still need to pick up a snake.

What advice would you give to prospective students looking to study in our department?

I would recommend reaching out to the lab(s) that interest you. This will help with finding out if they are accepting students, if their current research interests you, and if the lab culture would be a good fit.

What’s the most important thing that you’ve learned working here and/or studying biology?

Currently, I am learning to always have a short-term goal. Whether it is finishing an experiment, writing a section of my quals proposal or applying for a fellowship, an upcoming deadline helps determine the priority of potential tasks.

How do you unwind when you’re not in the lab?

The new hobbies I picked up since coming to grad school are gardening, cooking, weekly trivia, and disc golf.