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Philip Houtz

Novel Role of a Cypovirus in Polydnavirus-Parasitoid-Host Relationship
Mentor: Dr. Bruce A. Webb

From Philip:

I am a Kentucky native from Clark County. I attended George Rogers Clark High School in Winchester, Kentucky. It was here that I first became interested in pursuing a career in science, and found my love for learning. I am now a second-year student on the way toward a degree in Agricultural Biotechnology, a major that I chose for its diverse coverage of scientific fields and its focus on research. In the summer prior to my arrival at the University of Kentucky, I was captivated by the concepts of Dr. Bruce Webb's research into the polydnaviruses (PDV) that symbiotically assist their parasitoid wasp host in overcoming the immune defenses of caterpillar hosts. I have been working as an undergraduate researcher in his lab ever since, and have encountered many new techniques and concepts throughout this experience. This opportunity has provided me with a first-hand encounter of scientific research and the enormous community behind this field of expertise.

My laboratory research has convinced me of my desire and ability to seek out a career in scientific research. Thus, upon graduating from the University of Kentucky, I desire, and plan, to pursue even higher education in a Ph.D program, most likely in the field of entomology. I am also very interested in other subjects such as chemistry, particularly that deal with alternative energy sources, and art history, the wonders of which I was introduced to in my high school AP Art History course. Even if I do not pursue a career in these areas, I will continue to be fascinated by the second-hand knowledge that I can acquire from such fields.

Presently, I am continuing my personal education through striving for excellence in all of my courses, and will continue to assimilate and savor the knowledge that I am provided with and the skills that I shall develop. More importantly, my continued research in the Department of Entomology will improve my qualities as a scientist and researcher by strengthening and widening my range of laboratory techniques and sharpening my ability to develop relevant, important questions, to collect and interpret data, and, most importantly, to accurately and convincingly present the importance of my research to the scientific community.