Student Spotlight: Morgan Giese

Morgan Giese HeadshotHometown:

Boise, ID

Year entered CMB program:



Anna Huttenlocher Lab


Brief Summary of Research:

Neutrophils are innate immune cells that can polarize to tumor-promoting or tumor-inhibiting phenotypes. My research focuses on identifying external signals that might contribute to this polarization, including the role of skin microbiota in the melanoma tumor microenvironment.

Awards and Publications:

NSF GRF Honorable Mention 2019

CMB Travel Award Fall 2019

MHD T32 Trainee

Giese MA*, Hind LE*, and A Huttenlocher. Neutrophil Plasticity in the Tumor Microenvironment. Blood, 2019.

Hind LE, Giese MA, Schoen T, Beebe D, Keller N, and A Huttenlocher. Innate Immune Cell Paracrine Signaling Drives the Neutrophil Response to Aspergillus fumigatus in an Infection-on-a-Chip Model. Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 2020. (In Print)

Why did you decide to attend graduate school?

I was fascinated with science after undergrad and just wanted to keep learning. Now I know that post-graduation I want to teach and conduct research at a small college where I can interact closely with students.

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

UW-Madison has the perfect combination of a top tier research institute within a livable city. CMB is extremely flexible and allows me to tailor my experience with course selection and TA-ships/ teaching programs.

What inspired you to go into your field of study?

I have been fascinated by the intersection between immunology and cancer biology since my undergraduate study, but there were few research opportunities in those fields at such a small school.

What lessons have you learned throughout your graduate career so far?

There are a lot of highs and lows in graduate school, so celebrate when you can and know that you will get through even the toughest of times.

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

Consider not only the research labs, but the university/program and environment as a whole. How does the program support its students? What professional development opportunities are available? Do you want to live in that city for 5 years?

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

Outdoors! Running, walking, biking, hiking, camping. Or probably baking.

What is your favorite memory so far in the CMB Program?

CMB retreat! I don’t know if I can pick a favorite year, but it’s always a blast.

What is the most fun part of your research?

I really enjoy mentoring undergrads, seeing them learn the scientific process in real time and get excited about research. I can’t wait to work with them again in the lab setting.

What is a fun fact about yourself?

I love doing arts and crafts- watercolor painting to making Halloween costumes, you name it.