Lillian Horin Photo

Welcome to my personal website where I seek to share information about my current work and my journey in science. I will be starting the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Ph.D program through the Division of Medical Sciences at Harvard University in Fall of 2017.

I received my BA in Biology from Pitzer College in May 2017. As a first-generation college student, I found that the best way to navigate a foreign environment was to find supportive faculty and seek information. I've compiled tidbits of information that have helped me in my college journey on this website.

As an incoming graduate student, I am interested in using interdisciplinary techniques to solve pressing biological problems. I am also passionate about science writing, art, taekwondo, and reading manga.

Ongoing Projects

Past Projects

Image of Photoreceptors

Constance Cepko Lab, Harvard Medical School (June-August 2016)

I studied the metabolism of photoreceptors, which rely primarily on glycolysis rather than oxidative phosphorylation, even in aerobic conditions. This phenomenon, known as the Warburg effect, is typically observed in rapidly proliferating cells such as cancer cells. Importantly, even nondividing, postmitotic photoreceptors exhibit the Warburg effect. Because the mechanisms by which these metabolic genes are regulated in postmitotic photoreceptors are not well-defined, I sought to identify the genetic mechanisms regulating this metabolism.

This project culminated in my senior thesis, Spatio-Temporal Activity of Key Warburg Effect Genes in the Retina on December 5, 2016. My thanks to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for supporting my work via the Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP).

Image of Northern Elephant Seal Pups

Rudy Ortiz Lab, University of California, Merced (June-August 2015)

I worked with northern elephant seal (NES) pups—mammals that have adapted atypical physiological characteristics, such as adipose-specific insulin resistance, to survive during a 2-3 month prolonged, post-weaning fast. I studied the upregulation of cellular thyroid hormone (TH)-mediated components with fasting duration, the functional relevance of which is not understood. My objective was to assess the relationship between TH-mediated signaling and two types of metabolism in NES pups: β-oxidation, on which the pups rely almost exclusively during the fast, and gluconeogenesis and subsequent insulin-signaling.

The work was published in the American Journal of Physiology on November 30, 2016 [Publication]. I give my thanks to the American Physiological Society for awarding me the Integrative Organismal Systems Physiology (IOSP) Fellowship which supported my work.