Angelina R. Wilton

Why did you choose research as a career?

My experience in research started at the University of Illinois, where I worked in a lab for six semesters in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology. I realized during this experience that I really enjoyed the investigative process, asking questions and the excitement of being one of the first people to observe new science.

What attracted you to Mayo Clinic to explore research?

I was initially introduced to Mayo Clinic via the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) through the Mayo Clinic & Illinois Alliance for Technology-Based Healthcare. I was lucky to be a 2021 Illinois SURF fellow in Dr. Athreya's laboratory. As my first experience with human-centric research, I found much excitement in the multidisciplinary approach to improving patient care that Mayo Clinic provides.

Why did you choose Dr. Athreya's lab?

During my SURF experience in Dr. Athreya's lab, I was exposed for the first time to the world of multi-omics, artificial intelligence and machine learning. I was able to see the potential transformative power of this type of research in patient care, particularly in the field of psychiatry. Psychiatry offers a special opportunity for further individualizing care given the heterogeneity of patient outcomes and the biological, psychological and sociological complexity of psychiatric conditions. I quickly learned how data-driven technology is being implemented into patient care, and I wanted to learn more about these methods and their potential to improve many aspects of medicine.

Aside from his interesting and exciting research, Dr. Athreya is an excellent mentor in that he empowers his students to take charge of their own projects. Throughout my experiences under his mentorship, no question is a bad question. I feel that he cares about and supports my interests and development as an aspiring clinician-researcher. The lab environment Dr. Athreya creates also is great, where his lab members work well together and are fun to be around.

What are your plans for the future?

I aspire to attend medical school, and I currently have research interests in the field of psychiatric disorders. I hope to grow as a clinician and as a researcher in the coming years.