After Mac: PhD in cancer biology, University of Wisconsin–Madison
When it came time to employ my knowledge at the Masonic Cancer Center, I was able to dive in headfirst.
Little did I know that only two years after arriving at Macalester, I would be doing research on lung cancer―exactly what I hope to pursue as a career.
For two summers I conducted research in the lab of Mac alumna Dr. Lisa Peterson ’81 in the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota. I worked with the protein AGT, which repairs DNA that has been modified by the metabolized products of a tobacco-specific compound. Epidemiological studies have suggested that individuals with a particular variant of this protein are more likely to develop cancer than those with other variants. Our goal was to determine whether variants of this protein differed in their ability to repair cell changes due to tobacco use.
I learned many new techniques doing this research. However, I would not have been as successful if I had not first learned the basics at Macalester. It did not matter that the lessons I learned in my biology and chemistry courses weren’t directly applicable to the research I would undertake. When it came time to employ my knowledge in a new environment, I was able to dive in headfirst.
There is no place I would rather be as a science major than at Macalester. I have received so much support from everyone in the biology and chemistry departments these past three years—from help with my homework to planning my future as a scientist. I know have the skills I need to succeed in my life’s goal.