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I am recent graduate of LMU with my B.S. in biology. Most recently I was working on the Lactase Persistence project under Dr. Kam Dahlquist.

Hobbies and Career Interests

Elizabeth Haugan
  • I was born and raised in Orange County, California. My hobbies include video games, playing music, reading, watching sunsets, and cuddling with my dog. I also have a sweet tooth and love trying new desserts!
  • I am interested in working in genomics research, specifically in areas of biotechnology and cellular/molecular engineering. I plan on pursuing graduate education after gaining more experience in my field and narrowing down my areas of interest.


Undergraduate Education

  • Biology Major (Bachelors of Science) at Loyola Marymount University, Class of 2022

Course Experience

I have taken the following upper division biology courses at LMU:

  • Cell Biology Laboratory
  • Genetics Laboratory
  • General Microbiology Laboratory
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • General Microbiology
  • SS: Coastal Ecology
  • Urban Ecology
  • World Vegetation Ecology
  • Marine Biology (Field Lab)
  • Marine Conservation Biology
  • Embryology
  • Issues in Biotech Seminar

Research Experience

Lyon Lab - UCI

In April and May of 2017, I interned in the lab of David Lyon in the UCI Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, studying the organization and function of the visual system in the mammalian visual cortex. My responsibilities included cutting and mounting cryopreserved rodent brain section, and subsequently identifying and recording positions of GFP-encoding virus-marked neurons with fluorescent microscopy and the Neurocladia software. I was also able to observe and study rodent perfusions as well as virus injections and associated surgeries.

Learn more about the Lyon Lab :

Fly-CURE Consortium - LMU

During the Fall 2021 semester at LMU, I participated in the nationwide Fly-CURE consortium as a part of my upper division Genetics Laboratory course. This program was developed by Dr. Kagey of University of Detroit Mercy in order to identify and map a number of different mutations involved in growth control in Drosophila melanogaster. This work involved complementation crossing, PCR and associated primer design, DNA purification, and general fly handling.

Learn more about the Fly-CURE program:

Lactase Persistence - LMU

From Fall 2021 until my graduation in May of 2022, I was an undergraduate research assistant in the Lab of LMU Biology Department Chair Dr. Kam Dahlquist, assisting in her research on the genetic origins and frequency of lactase persistence. My responsibilities included DNA extraction, amplification, and RFLP analysis via gel electrophoresis.

Previous sampling was performed with cheek lysates, but this protocol was changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2022 our lab received IRB approval to instead take hair samples for genotyping on a volunteer basis. If you are an LMU student interested in volunteering, please contact Dr. Dahlquist or a current member of her lab.

Learn more about the Lactase Persistence Project:

WCBSRK 2022 Poster Abstract: The human trait of lactase persistence (LP) is the ability to produce the enzyme lactase, and thus digest the milk sugar lactose, into adulthood. Reports of how many in the world’s population express this trait range from 16- 35%, though this may be an overestimate. Most individuals worldwide are not able to metabolize lactose effectively, referred to as lactase nonpersistence (LNP). The consumption of dairy products by an LNP individual can result in mild to severe gastrointestinal symptoms such as bloating, gas, and diarrhea. The lactase enzyme is encoded by the LCT gene on chromosome 2, whose expression is regulated by an enhancer that lies over 13,000 base pairs upstream of the transcription start site. The T allele of the C->T variant (SNP ID rs4988235) at position -13,910 bp upstream of LCT, confers the trait of lactase persistence. Although the frequency of this SNP has been determined for some homogenous populations, it has not been reliably determined for the heterogenous US population. Our work seeks to fill this gap. We had previously implemented a protocol to perform restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) genotyping from cheek cells obtained through a saline mouthwash. COVID-19 safety precautions have led us to develop and optimize a protocol for extraction of DNA from hair follicles instead. We explored incubation times, reagent concentrations, and the number of follicles required to achieve robust results. Finally, we report genotype frequencies obtained with this protocol from subjects at LMU.

Lab Supervisor:

Fellow Undergraduate Researchers:

Contact Information