Laura Barrera-Martinez

University of Washington, Class of 2013
Intended Microbiology and Medical Technology Major

Laura Barrera-Martinez is a 2009 graduate of Mariner High School in Everett, WA. She is currently in her fourth year at the University of Washington.

Education, Honors, and Awards

  • UW GenOM Project Undergraduate Research Program, 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13
  • STARS Program Participant, Yale University, Summer 2010
  • UW GenOM ALVA Intern, Summer 2009
  • 2009 graduate of Auburn Riverside High School
  • SBRI's BioQuest Academy 2009

Research Interests

During her ALVA internship in the summer of 2009, Laura conducted research in the Chemical Engineering Department's Lidstrom Lab. Her project focused on isolating certain bacteria found in soil samples that have the capability to degrade plastics. The goal of the overall project is to use such bacteria to decrease the amount of plastic in landfills and oceans, thereby bettering the environment. Laura used a plate-based screening method to isolate the bacteria from the samples and was able to find six main candidates. Future research will focus on testing the degradation capabilities of these bacteria and bioengineering the best candidates to degrade plastics and convert them into biofuels.

Laura plans to major in microbiology and medical technology and hopes to have a career in research. She was featured in the University of Washington's alumni magazine, Columns, in March of 2010 and was selected as a participant for Yale University's STARS Program for the summer of 2010.


Research Projects

  • Isolation and Indentification of Plastic Degrading Bacteria

Contact Our Organization

Lisa Peterson, Director
Gerberding G76
phone: (206)685-2593

Greg Diggs, ALVA Coordinator
Gerberding G76
phone: (206)221-4614

Cheryl Allendoerfer, Research Scientist
Gerberding G76
phone: (206)543-3306

USPS mail:
Office of Research
Gerberding Hall G76
Box 351202
Seattle, WA 98195

To donate to the UW GenOM Project, click here.