Indiana University School of Medicine
"People tend to say the real world is less fun, but when you are passionate about what you do, the real world only offers more opportunities. The science at Purdue gave me the foundation to do any kind of science I wanted, and the opportunities to develop a passion for learning about human diseases. Later I learned to appreciate the complexity of human cancers. While the general public is under the belief that there is a one magical drug that should cure singular disease cancer, the reality is that there are as many types of cancer as there are people who have it. I am driven in this career path because cancer is the most complex human disease of all."
What was your major/minor at Purdue and when did you graduate?
BS in Neurobiology and Physiology, minor in Psychology, 2011
What was your most compelling class and why?
I truly enjoyed learning about common drug mechanisms of action in Dr. Mesecar’s Drug Structure and Function class. It was incredibly cool to see the advances in medicine solely due to good biology.
What are you currently working on?
I study cancer signaling and tumor suppressor networks that are commonly mutated in human cancers. I am currently working on deciphering the regulators of Mdm2 in a microenvironment that mimics the actual tumor microenvironment where oxygen is low.
Was there one person at Purdue who shifted the course of your career?
Dr. Louis Sherman was the professor who let me do undergraduate research in his laboratory. He set me up with a post doc to learn the basic techniques and then set me free to explore the physiology of cyanobacteria. I will always be grateful to him for making me into a curious and creative scientist.
What did you do in the year immediately after graduating?
I worked as a research technician in a breast cancer research laboratory that does genome wide association studies from clinical trial patient DNA. The intent was to provide predictive markers for side effects specific to a patient with a particular drug.
Did you pursue internships/co-ops, research experiences, volunteer, or join student organizations while you attended Purdue?
I enjoyed Run Club, and being a science ambassador. I loved getting prospective students excited about science. Talking to students either in a one on one setting or room full of people helped me gain confidence and the people skills I needed to succeed in graduate school.
What advice would you give prospective or current Purdue students about how to make the best use of what Purdue offers?
Find what you are passionate about and pursue it. If a particular professor or class sparks your interest, ask questions, request a lab tour, etc. If you need help, utilize the resources Purdue has provided for you to succeed in your area of interest.
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