I had a very enriching summer in Augusta, Georgia as a part of the Student Training and Research (STAR) program at Georgia Health Sciences University. There, I worked in a biochemistry and molecular biology lab doing basic science bench work under my mentor, Michael Duncan, Ph.D.
The program was nine weeks and I was able to gather enough data to make a poster that I presented at the end of the program. My research looked at the role of recruited macrophage cells in the liver tumor microenvironment in hepatocellular carcinoma.
I have worked at Genesis Genetics Institute in Detroit, MI as a summer intern for the past two summers. It has been an invaluable experience to work with such a still up-and-coming science technique called pre-implantation diagnosis (PGD).
What PGD means is, we create a probe for patients for whichever disease the family might have, such as cystic fibrosis, breast cancer, or Huntington’s disease. A probe means the scientist tests the family’s DNA with different oligonucleotides surrounding the mutation (disease) the family has specifically, and we help determine what oligonucleotides we can use to help figure out what embryos do not have the mutation.
We report that information to the in vitro fertilization clinic and from there they implant the healthy embryos into the patient, and hopefully they will take, and the patient will become pregnant. It is a rewarding experience to help families have babies knowing they are healthy and have eliminated the disease from their family!
It is a very controversial area still, and it is an ethical dilemma. However, the experience I have had has been incredible and I loved every second of it!
Brian Greathouse is weighing his medical school options after scoring in the 99th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test.Brian Greathouse, '12, is considering a career as an emergency room doctor or a trauma surgeon, and he can make connections between that line of work and the minutes he's currently logging as the starting goalkeeper for the Albion College men's soccer team.
"I'm addicted to the adrenaline rush," Greathouse said. "One of the biggest parallels is that in the emergency room you can be having a slow night and all of the sudden a patient comes in and you instantly have to snap back in gear. In goalkeeping, you see a situation coming at you and have to make a decision. It's instinctual. I get into [the decision-making process] after going through the repetition of practice so many times.
"Anybody that succeeds at any task has to be confident," he added. "I believe I'm going to do the best job [at any task] and no one is going to do it better. It also provides motivation to improve if you don't achieve the desired result. The biggest key to my success is believing I can do it."
Greathouse is weighing his medical school options after scoring in the 99th percentile on the Medical College Admission Test, but the journey wasn't entirely smooth. The Dearborn native admits to getting off to a slow start academically. Lulled into a false sense of security based on his high school background, Greathouse pursued social outlets.
"In the summer of 2011, I participated in the Georgia Health Sciences University (GHSU) Student Training and Research (STAR) program. The program gave students an opportunity to spend 9 weeks of the summer in a biomedical research lab.
I worked 40 hour weeks in Dr. Darren Browning’s lab doing research on the therapeutic activation of Protein Kinase G (PKG) by Phosphodiesterase Type 5 (PDE5) Inhibitors in the colon. In the most basic terms, I was looking to see whether or not PDE5 Inhibitor drugs could possibly help prevent or treat colon cancer. During my time in Dr. Browning’s Lab, I learned to culture cells, transfect DNA into cells, Western Blot, run Assays, and many other biomedical techniques. The research culminated in a poster session with all of the other STAR students so that we could learn to present our research.
The 9 weeks I spent in Georgia were both very fun and interesting. It allowed me to live in a new part of the United States for a period of time. The culture, cuisine, and accent were all different and I really enjoyed spending time in Augusta. The STAR program staff were excellent. They set us up with research mentors in our respective areas of interests and made sure everything ran smoothly.
Prior to leaving GHSU, they asked me to recruit more Albion College students to apply to the program. It is a great program and my hope that other Albion College students will get to have the same excellent experience that I had.