Undergraduate Research Institution: Oklahoma Christian University, Division of Undergraduate Research
Mentor: Dr. Molly Hill
Research Project: Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors (Class II Nuclear Steroid Receptors) and the Host Response to Septic Shock.
I began exploring the area of research in the basic sciences during the spring 2000 semester (my sophomore year). For years I knew that I wanted to go to medical school and in the process of completing my pre-med requirements at OC, the prospect of conducting innovative scientific research with high medical relevance was brought to my attention by a professor. During the summers of 2000 and 2001 I continued working with my mentor on a full-time basis. I loved it! I learned techniques and concepts by being at the lab bench that my fellow undergraduate students never had the opportunity to explore. It definitely helped put me ahead of the curve. In November of 2000 I was able to present my findings from the previous summer to the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences (OAS). For that I won first place for presentation in the section of Microbiology, entailing a plaque and a small (but much-appreciated) cash prize. Furthermore, I decided that I would like to incorporate research into my future medical career. In the summer of 2002 I entered the M.D./PhD program at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine and Graduate College. It has been one of the very best decisions I have ever made. I foresee a rewarding career in correlating the findings of basic research with clinical medicine. I owe very much to those (my mentor in particular) who presented me with the opportunity to discover something that I really enjoyed, and something that has made and will continue to make all the difference in my years beyond Oklahoma Christian.