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Biology Student Stories: Clara Lindley

Clara Lindley

At the U, “​​I love how there are so many opportunities for students to get involved and apply what they are learning to a real-life scenario.”

Clara Lindley took the “road less traveled” and after graduating from high school in Santa Cruz, California she spent a year working in a German hospital as a nursing assistant. “I can speak German at a native/bilingual level. My mom grew up in Berlin and immigrated to the United States. She raised me speaking both English and German!”

In Germany, Clara shared:  “I fell in love with providing patient care and became deeply interested in the science behind the diseases and their treatments. I chose to study biology because I am interested in applying what I learn in the classroom to working directly with improving people's lives.” Clara answered this educational call, making the first stop of her freshman year, at the University of Utah, in the lab of Dr. Jennifer Ose, at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. After three years in the Ose lab, Clara was a contributing author on an article published in Cancer Epidemiology Prevention and Biomarkers.  Clara summed up the findings as follows: “Patients with colorectal cancer commonly suffer from complex psychological distress. We investigated the association between biomarkers for inflammation and angiogenesis [blood vessel formation] with cancer-related distress and found that exercise and diet interventions that [can lower cytokines thereby reducing inflammation risks] may impact longer-term distress and improve the quality of life for patients with colorectal cancer.”

Beyond studying biology and cancer research, Clara is engaged in our community as an HIV Prevention Counselor at UAF Health, where she supports members of the LGBTQIA+ community who are living with HIV. Clara’s involvement in research, serving in the public health sector with UAF Health, finding time to intern with BioMerieux (a biotech company that pioneers diagnostics in infectious diseases), and at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies or MAPS (researching how MDMA may be able to help patients with PTSD) have rounded out a remarkable undergraduate experience.

When asked why the University of Utah, Clara shared, “​​I love how there are so many opportunities for students to get involved and apply what they are learning to a real-life scenario. The location is pretty great too; a metropolitan city with diverse cultural offerings situated at the base of a huge mountain range!” When Clara is not busy finding ways to apply science and biology to helping people, you’ll find her running, mountain biking, skiing, playing classical piano pieces, such as “Fantasie Negre” by Florence Price, reading (especially Jon Krakauer), cooking, and chilling while doing yoga.

By Tanya Vickers and Maisy Webb

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