Meixi is a PhD student in the Wayne Lab (EEB, UCLA) since 2017. She is interested in applying non-invasive genetics tools to conservation biology. She has been studying applications of “environmental DNA” as part of the CALeDNA (California’s environmental DNA) team. eDNA stands for the genetic material that are stored in environments like water, soil and even air. For her dissertation research, she analyzed the macro-ecological pattern recovered from eDNA signals across the state of California and the community-environment interactions. She explored the possibilities of using a capture-array technique to enrich mammalian DNA in surface soil extracts, and extracted sedaDNA (sediment ancient DNA).
She received her B.S. in Biology from Peking University in 2017. For her undergraduate thesis, she tested the suitability of using environmental DNA to survey aquatic biodiversity in the urban environment of Beijing and designed a species-specific primer for amplifying American Bullfrog under the supervision of Dr. Meng Yao.
Grants and Awards
University of California, Los Angeles
- Departmental Quarter Fellowship, UCLA, 2019 ($7000)
- Departmental Research/Travel Grant, UCLA, 2019 ($1700)
- La Kretz Center & Stunt Ranch Reserve Research Grant, UCLA, 2018 ($2600, w/ Dr. Garcia Vedrenne)
- Departmental Research/Travel Grant, UCLA, 2018 ($1100)
- Graduated with Honor (Awarded to top 10% students), 2017
- Honors Program in Biology, 2016-2017
- Merit Student Award, 2016
- Guang Hua Scholarship, 2016
- Social Work Award, 2015
- May Fourth Scholarship, 2014
eDNA Tea and Cookies
I have been the host for “eDNA Tea and Cookies” weekly seminars (launched by Dr. Emily Curd) since January 2019. It is a group of researchers that gets together and discusses the current topics on eDNA, from experiments setup to coding tips over tea (well, honestly, coffee … ) and cookies. We have attendees from 4 UC campuses, USC, UW and more! If you are interested in joining, just contact me. Sometimes we have guest talks and stuff, tune in at CALeDNA sites as well!
I have been serving as one of the first TAs for my advisor’s class series: Environmental DNA for Science Investigation and Education (eSIE). I helped Ana and Maura organized nature hikes around LA for first-year undergraduate students from all disciplines. We introduced the diverse ecosystems and encouraged students to use iNaturalist to record and identify the species they encounter. They also learned how to collect surface soil eDNA samples.
Explore Your Universe
Exploring Your Universe is an annual science festival held on the campus of UCLA. I volunteered at the EEB Booth (organized by Erin) in 2018. We demonstrated how “natural selection” works by a small contest to pick up as much “food” as you can with your choice of “beaks” (spoons, forks or chopsticks!)