Peter Buck Internship Fund Recipient
Since my 11th grade AP Biology class where we dissected a mink and worked through medical case studies, I knew I wanted to pursue a medical career. I was attracted to exploring complex human biological mechanisms, solving intricate problems, and helping people. Since matriculating at Bowdoin, I have pursued this interest by majoring in Biology, studying abroad at the University of Edinburgh to take medical school courses, organizing a safe space for Mayflower residents following the 2015 assault, and conducting research last summer on the Bowdoin campus. I enjoyed working in Vladimir Douhovnikoff’s ecological genetics lab last summer working with epigenetic modifications to clonal strains of four different tree species.
As much as I enjoyed my work on the Bowdoin campus, I wanted to expand my options this summer to work in a biomedical research lab conducting studies on physiology applicable to human health. I sent several cold emails to researchers at universities around the United States and was eventually guided to Dr. Thomas Hla at Boston Children’s Hospital. Dr. Hla’s lab is looking at the function of the sphingosine 1-phosphate molecule (S1P) and its receptor S1P1 in the cardiovascular system. While the lab works primarily with mouse models, the group has made several important discoveries which show potential for options to treat sepsis and general infections in hospital patients. I am really excited to work on an immune system project with researcher Dr. Sylvain Galvani in the Hla lab looking at leukocytes and other immune system cells derived from bone marrow. This project is still in its infancy so I have a great opportunity to help guide this important research as an undergraduate. I will have to learn important techniques for working with mice such as extracting bone marrow and running tissue cultures, which I hope will make me a more qualified applicant when applying to jobs after Bowdoin. I am planning on taking 1-2 years off to work in a hospital or lab before applying to medical schools, giving myself time to study for the MCAT and compile a competitive application.
In addition to working in the Hla Lab, I am also planning on volunteering with the Gynecology Program at Boston Children’s. I networked with Dr. Amanda French (Bowdoin ’92) who currently works as a gynecologist at Boston Children’s and she introduced me to the director of the Centre for Young Women’s Health. The Center for Young Women’s Health is an online health resource for adolescent girls curated by the Division of Gynecology and Division of Adolescent/Young Adult Medicine at the hospital. The director was excited by my interest in women’s health and offered to have me work as a volunteer blogger for their organization. This opportunity would allow me to work with a population I am interested in and also let me experience one form of public health. Between working in a lab and working with a public health outreach program, I hope to gain clarity on what I want to do in the medical field professionally.
- Date October 18, 2017
- Tags 2017, Buck, Healthcare, Junior, USA