I was tasked with compiling data concerning Undergraduate Research here on The Domain for the new Pre-Health website. first, I spoke to Dr. Bachman, the Director of Undergraduate Research, about different research projects currently underway in Sewanee. Dr. Bachman stressed the difference between scientific research and medical research. He wanted to be sure I knew that not all research happening on The Domain was for medicine. We talked for about an hour about differentiating between the two and which professors I should talk to. Dr. Bachman sent me to Dr. Kikis, Dr. Seballos, Dr. Pongdee, and our dear, sweet Dr. Summers for more information about medical research on campus. For my project, I started by setting up an appointment with each professor to ask them for more information about their research. From their, I went a level deeper – to the students. Each professor gave me the name of a student who could best give me an idea of what it is like doing research in their lab. Dr. Kikis, for example, sent me to her student Nakeirah Christie. I contacted Nakeirah to set up a time for a video interview to ask her about her lab experience. I repeated this for Dr. Summers and Dr. Seballos, but Dr. Pongdee declined to have information about his research features on the Pre-Health website at this time.
I recorded my conversation with Dr. Kikis. She told me her lab was studying Neurodegenerative diseases, specifically Machado-Joseph Disease, which is similar to Huntington’s Disease. Her lab examines what proteins associated with these diseases do to cells concerning cellular dysfunction and death. As it is difficult to work out the mechanism of disease action in the human brain, Dr. Kikis and her students use a model organism, a nematode, called C. elegans. Dr. Kikis examines ployglutamine expansion which leads to toxicity in the cell. Knowledge of the genome of this organism allows people to examine gene expression and look at tissues and how different gene expression affects these tissues. Her lab is trying to examine what causes the toxicity in the tissues, and when these age-associated diseases take hold, as a child will be born with the disease mutations in their genes, but they will not express themselves until mid- to late-life. She then told me Nakeirah would be the best student to talk to about this research project.
I met with Nakeirah in Dr. Kikis lab and videotaped an interview with her.
(Interview Video here).
I also did research on admissions to Osteopathic and Allopathic Medical schools.
1. Have a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university.
2. Have successfully completed 8 hours of Biological Science, 8 hours of General Chemistry with lab, 8 hours of Organic Chemistry with lab, 8 hours of Physics, and 6 hours of English/Humanities with a 2.0 or higher.
3. Have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.
4. Have taken the MCAT.
5. A letter of recommendation from a physician, and the pre-professional committee.
1 year of General Chemistry and General Chemistry Lab.
1 year of Cell and Molecular Biology and Biology Lab.
1 year of Organic Chemistry and Organic Chemistry Lab.
1 year of General Physics and Physics Lab.
1 semester of Introductory Psychology.
1 year of English
Calculus and Statistics
Biochemistry as a supplement to Biology
I covered the areas of Undergraduate Research on The Domain and admission to Osteopathic and Allopathic Medical Schools for my project on developing web content for the Pre-Health site.