Student Spotlight: Katie Mueller



Broomfield, Colorado

Year entered CMB program:



Krishanu Saha Lab


Brief Summary of Research:

Precision editing techniques to improve the potency of engineered cell therapies

Awards and Publications:

NSF Graduate research fellowship, NIH T32 Biotechnology training program,,

Why did you choose UW-Madison’s CMB Program?

I felt a strong sense of camaraderie from the other CMB students when I visited, and was deeply impressed with the research I saw when I visited. I also found an advisor here whose research perfectly matched my own interests.

What advice would you give to a student applying to graduate school?

Don’t just choose the biggest name, or the research area that interested you most in college. A good fit with your advisor and labmates is more important; you will enjoy the science much more if you are happy in your day-to-day environment!

What are your long-term career goals?

I want to run my own research lab and teach, probably at a primarily undergraduate institution.

What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

Graduate school is designed to make students feel anxious, isolated, and frustrated; I struggled enormously with this during my first year. I overcame that fear and loneliness by forming strong bonds with my labmates, my advisor, and other colleagues in the building. I also got interested in studying the process of science in addition to my other research projects, and I’ve been collaborating with several peers and mentors across campus to develop curriculum to help grad students deal with these pressures. Focusing on these stressors as environmental factors that I can study and work to change has been immensely helpful for me.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I love learning languages for fun! Right now, I’m working on Irish Gaelic.

When you are not in the lab, you are…….?

Making music! I sing semi-professionally with several groups in town, play with a string quartet, and love to social dance.

What is the most fun part of your research?

I love mentoring, and have worked with a number of really bright, enthusiastic students from middle school through undergrad. These connections help keep me motivated and excited about my work, and it’s a real joy to watch my students grow.