Student Spotlight: Alex Fister

Headshot Alex FisterHometown:

Buffalo Grove, IL

Year entered CMB program:



Anna Huttenlocher Lab


Brief Summary of Research:

Effects of bacterial infection on immune cell migration during immunodeficiency and wound healing

Awards and Publications:

“MicroRNA-mediated control of developmental lymphangiogenesis” (previous lab)

Why did you decide to attend graduate school?

Several reasons. I have a passion for biomedical science and it has been unfailingly my one true interest. I want to be in a position of leadership and autonomy as a scientist, as well as encouraging other women to pursue PhDs in STEM fields. I am also the first person in my family to be in school for a PhD, so I want to be a good role model for my younger family members to show them that science is for everyone.

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

From the first day I interviewed for CMB, I felt like I was at home. The people, students and mentors alike, are all so welcoming and supportive. There is a great community feeling here.

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

Aim higher than you think you would be able to get in. The admissions process is very holistic so even if you don’t have a high GPA or some other “qualifying” factor, still apply if the program at that institution is interesting to you.

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

Playing board games with friends, going on a hike, reading a good book, taking care of my (numerous) plants, and hanging out with my cat.

What is the most fun part of your research?

I love being able to do in vivo experiments and then almost immediately viewing them under a microscope. It’s great immediate gratification!