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Welcome Nghiem Lab Undergrad Research Assistants Rian Alam & Ankita Menon

The Division of Dermatology is delighted to welcome two new undergraduate research assistants, Rian Alam and Ankita Menon, who will be joining the Nghiem Lab beginning May 2, 2022. Rian and Ankita, both current students at the University of Washington, were selected from a competitive pool of over 80 applicants for their high academic standing and praise from their work and extra-curricular colleagues. We are thrilled for Rian and Ankita to begin supporting Dr. Paul Nghiem and the Nghiem Lab Research Team in South Lake Union.

A special thank you to members of the Nghiem Lab Research Team who assisted with this year’s recruitment and hiring process. Particular thanks to the Nghiem Lab’s current team of undergraduate research assistants; Marika Bierma, Alex Fu, Emily Gong, Nikhil Harikrishnan, Emily Huynh and Ally Remington for their efforts in this important search for the next class of undergrads. 

Over the next few months, Rian and Ankita will begin supporting the PUPdate 2022 (Patient Update Project), helping contact patients and refreshing the Nghiem Lab’s online database storing information on over 600 active Merkel cell carcinoma patients with more than 200 data-fields. Keeping the MCC database updated and accurate is at the core of dozens of current and future projects.

Congratulations Rian and Ankita!

Rian Alam 


Rian Alam (he, him) is a current freshman at the University of Washington, majoring in chemistry and on a pre-medicine track. He plans to pursue a career in medicine, and is interested in gaining more experience in biomedical research. As part of his high school’s STEM program, Rian has had the opportunity to get hands on experience in a lab setting. His previous projects include working in a DNA cloning lab, and analyzing dominant and recessive genes by studying the frequency of cleft versus normal chins in a population. Rian has held leadership positions with HOSA Future Health Professionals and as a member of the Sammamish Youth Board where he led a legislative initiative to mandate bleeding control kits in public schools. In his free time, Rian enjoys playing and refereeing soccer games and volunteering in his community.

Ankita Menon


Ankita Menon (she, her) is a current freshman at the University of Washington on a pre-medicine track. She intends to major in Neuroscience, with a minor South Asian Languages & Literature. Ankita’s research and leadership experience begin in high school as the senior class president for Tesla STEM High School in Redmond, Wash., and as an assistant preschool teacher at Brightonview Montessori school where she got to foster her love for working with children, lending to her passion for pediatric cancer research. Since then, she has continued studying pediatric cancer independently and even discovered 17 novel neuronal differentiation related biomarkers which can detect cancer at an early stage. Ankita also enjoys writing, she is currently an author for UW’s undergraduate neuroscience journal. Her research has been honored at the national level; she has been awarded by the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), Washington State Science and Engineering Fair (WSSEF), Central Sound Regional Science and Engineering Fair (CSRSEF) and recently won the 2021 American Junior Academy of Sciences’ (AJAS) Lifetime Fellow Award.

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