Georgia Tech has selected Troy Hilley as the recipient of the 2018 Outstanding Achievement in Research Enterprise Enhancement Award. Hilley is the Academic and Research IT Support Engineer Lead for the School of Biological Sciences (SoBiosci). The award recognizes staff members who consistently improve Georgia Tech’s research programs but are not traditional researchers themselves.
Hilley is responsible for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of faculty, research group, and administrative computing infrastructure in SoBiosci. He also acts as a critical liaison between SoBiosci, the College of Sciences, and Georgia Tech computing teams. Yet in practice, Hilley does much more. As SoBiosci grows, he has established himself as a leader in thinking creatively and acting proactively to prepare SoBiosci for the rapidly changing environment for integrative computing.
“Troy is the reason we’ve managed to scale up so seamlessly,” a colleague says.
According to colleagues, Hilley has been instrumental in advancing SoBiosci’s research. Relentlessly pursuing institutional effectiveness, he has gone beyond his scope of duties to help faculty build infrastructure for effective research, assist with strategic planning of computational needs, and provide timely and expert assistance to advance computation-based discoveries in the life sciences.
Hilley’s advice and collaboration has enabled critical research publications, catalyzed translation of discoveries form lab to industry, and helped secure extramural funding for sustained work in SoBiosci.
“I love being able to assist people. I listen to the needs of faculty. My goal is for them to leave the office knowing that their needs will be met,” Hilley says. “It is an honor to be recognized by such an esteemed group and to be a small part of their research.”
Researchers experimenting with live zebrafish witnessed a 200% increase in the strength of intestinal contractions soon after the organisms were exposed to the cholera-causing bacterium Vibrio cholerae. The strong contractions led to expulsion of native gut bacteria.
The discovery, detailed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “was remarkable and unexpected,” the authors write.
The researchers – from the University of Oregon, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – used genetic manipulation and cutting-edge three-dimensional microscopy to monitor what happens when the disease-causing microbe is initially introduced into the larvae of zebrafish, an organism commonly studied as a model for understanding health and disease in vertebrates, including humans.
The multidisciplinary team of physicists, molecular biologists, and microbiologists focused on the harpoon-like injection capabilities of the type VI secretion system. This appendage, found in many bacteria including Vibrio cholerae, transfers toxic proteins into competing healthy cells.
The scientists engineered Vibrio cholerae mutants with variations in that secretion system and then observed the behavior of the microbes as they invaded zebrafish colonized with Aeromonas veronii, a native species in that animal’s gut.
Instead of simply killing native Aeromonas gut bacteria upon contact, as expected, when Vibrio cholerae entered the gut the native bacteria were swiftly flushed out.
“The secretion system induced dramatic increases in the strength of the peristalsis process, the contractions that move gut contents down the gastrointestinal tract much like squeezing a tube of toothpaste from the end to the top,” says coauthor Brian K. Hammer, a microbiologist and associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences at Georgia Tech.
The researchers hypothesized that the unexpected bacterial manipulation in the digestive system might be driven by a particular piece of the type VI machinery known to bind to actin, a cellular scaffolding protein. When the scientists deleted the actin-binding domain from the bacterial gene, they saw that Vibrio cholerae lost its ability to enhance peristalsis and its ability to expel native Aeromonas.
The findings shed new light on how the waterborne Vibrio cholerae functions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Vibrio cholerae triggers more than 3 million cases of acute diarrheal illness and 100,000 deaths in people worldwide each year.
“Knowing the strategies by which the bacterium is able to invade the intestine can open doors to therapies that might disrupt these paths,” says corresponding author Raghuveer Parthasarathy, a professor of physics at the University of Oregon, whose imaging and analysis techniques were used in the study.
Because the type VI secretion system is also found in native gut bacteria, including those in the human gut microbiome, it could be harnessed for therapies, including specially designed probiotics, to promote beneficial species or to defend against disease invasion, Hammer says.
“We suspect that other gut microbes, both pathogenic and beneficial, might similarly make use of this secretion system to reshape their environment,” Parthasarathy says.
Most previous research on this secretion system has relied on studying bacteria outside of animals – on a Petri dish for example, or by examining fecal samples – to infer what is happening in the gut during infection.
While the research team captured the impact of invasion by Vibrio cholerae, understanding just how it takes root in the host, such as what specific cells in the animal are targeted, is an open question, Parthasarathy says.
“We still have no idea how the action of his secretion system’s harpoon is causing the changes in the muscle contractions,” Hammer says. “We suspect that what we are observing may be an immune response to irritation in the gut lining. But what cells in the gut are being poked?”
How the findings may reflect the colonization of Vibrio cholerae in humans is not known, but the role of the secretion system makes a similar result plausible, the researchers wrote in their conclusion.
BIRTH OF COLLABORATION
The findings emerged from a collaboration born in 2015 when Hammer, Parthasarathy, and coauthor Joao Xavier, a researcher at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, discussed joint research possibilities during a conference, Scialog: Molecules Come to Life, in Tucson, Arizona.
The Scialog (Science and Dialog) was organized by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and sponsored jointly with the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, with additional support from the Simons Foundation. The goal of Scialog is to rapidly catalyze new interdisciplinary collaborative teams, such as the one formed by Hammer, Parthasarathy, and Xavier, to work on high-risk, high-reward projects.
As a result, their three labs received an award from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Simons Foundation to pursue their Scialog idea. The National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, and Kavli Microbiome Ideas Challenge also supported the research.
Trajectories of Vibrio cholerae bacteria (blue) swimming inside the gut of a larval zebrafish. The gut is visible as a gray background. The total duration of the movie that was “squashed” into this image is 3.5 seconds, and the total image width is about 0.3 mm. (Courtesy of Raghuveer Parthasarathy)
Joseph Rabinoff and Matthew Torres are two of Georgia Tech’s 2018 CTL/BP Junior Faculty Teaching Excellence Award winners. Jointly supported by the Center for Teaching and Learning and BP America, the award recognizes the excellent teaching and educational innovation that junior faculty bring to campus.
JOSEPH RABINOFF: Helping both students and faculty
Joseph Rabinoff was recently promoted to associate professor in the School of Mathematics. Because many undergraduates take the fundamental mathematics courses he teaches, Rabinoff has had a broad impact on Georgia Tech undergraduates.
Students say Rabinoff makes mathematics relevant and engaging, especially the introductory classes he teaches. For his part, Rabinoff seeks to ensure that all students, whatever their majors, understand and even appreciate the material.
Rabinoff was heavily involved in developing the curriculum and course materials for Math 1553, Introduction to Linear Algebra. This is an engineering core course that is taken by thousands of Georgia Tech students every year. He created lecture slides, interactive demonstrations, and online homework problems. With colleague Dan Margalit, Rabinoff wrote a free online textbook for the course, “Interactive Linear Algebra.”
Beyond the classroom, Rabinoff spearheaded the creation of the School of Mathematics’ course repository and has been the main contributor to its infrastructure and content. The repository contains up-to-date curated materials that a new teacher can just pick up and use.
The students are the most exciting part about being at Georgia Tech, Rabinoff said in a 2016 Q&A. “Some students are extremely hard-working and talented. I derive a lot of pleasure from interactions in class and office hours,” he said.
In turn, students praise Rabinoff for his enthusiasm, engaging lectures, friendliness, accessibility, and, yes, his “super” “Rabinoffice” hours, which one students says “are fantastic during exam weeks.”
“It is an honor to be recognized with this award,” Rabinoff says. “The students I see every week in class and in office hours are great kids, and all of the effort is for them. Pedagogy is special in this way: The reward is not abstract; it is visible every time I see in a student's face that a light went on in their head. I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to teach in a place like Georgia Tech.”
MATTHEW TORRES: Teaching life skills
Matthew Torres also was recently promoted to associate professor, in the School of Biological Sciences. Although he always knew he would be a scientists, he never thought about being a teacher. At Georgia Tech he has recognized that, “first and foremost,” he is a teacher.
Having embraced the role of an educator, his dedication is obvious to students and colleagues. Students regard him not only as an excellent teacher, but also as someone who believes in them and sees their potential. Students say Torres’s mentorship goes beyond biology: Torres helps them develop critical skills that will serve them throughout their lives – such as written and spoken scientific communication, self-reflection, and how to confront failure productively.
Colleagues say Torres is a natural teacher, taking every opportunity to teach and mentor students in Georgia Tech and beyond. He gives students personal attention and invests time and resources to ensure student learning. A colleague describes Torres as “dedicated, caring, thoughtful, and highly successful in both teaching and research.”
Torres regularly invites undergraduates to do research in his lab, participating in work to address chemical biology questions that Torres’s research seeks to answer. These undergraduates are listed as coauthors on publications. In running his lab and in his teaching, Torres instills open communications and mutual respect as values that advance everyone’s progress.
Community engagement is important to Torres. He has volunteered to mentor high school students from the Gwinnett School of Mathematics, Science, and Technology. He routinely gives laboratory tours to local high schools focusing on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
“Winning this award is fantastic, but I’m also very lucky,” Torres says. “Lucky enough to have had wonderful students – undergraduate, graduate, and beyond – willing to join me on a journey in pursuit of greater understanding and scientific progress. Such a journey can’t happen because of a teacher alone – it takes bright, receptive, and brave students to help guide the way.”
Georgia Tech has named Jeffrey Skolnick the recipient of the 2018 Sigma Xi Sustained Research Award. The award recognizes Skolnick’s exceptional sustained imagination and productivity in the fields of systems biology, computational biology, bioinformatics, cancer metabolomics, protein structure prediction and evolution, drug design, and simulations of cellular processes.
Skolnick is the Mary and Maisie Gibson Chair, the Georgia Tech Alliance Eminent Scholar in Computational Systems Biology, and a professor in the School of Biological Sciences. He is also the director of the Center for the Study of Systems Biology.
In his research, Skolnick has developed algorithms to predict protein structure and function and ligand-protein interactions. Applications include drug discovery and prediction of off-target uses of already approved drugs.
Skolnick pioneered the field of ligand homology modeling, using the modeling algorithm FINDSITEcomb to infer protein function, predict a protein’s binding site, and screen virtual ligands. The insights from this work has enabled use of even low-resolution protein structures in virtual ligand screening. Skolnick is applying this knowledge to find other diseases that approved drugs could treat.
Drugs of interest include granisetron (Kytril), an antinausea and antiemetic agent; progesterone, a female hormone; acetaminophen, a pain reliever; and naproxen an anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent. Among diseases that existing drugs might help treat are cancer, pain, cardiovascular diseases, neurological diseases, cystic fibrosis, and diseases caused by genetic variations.
“The biochemical seeds of life could be prevalent.”
Using another algorithm, Skolnick has found a way to boost the odds that disease organisms will not quickly develop resistance to an antibiotic. The algorithm identifies compounds that target two or more receptor sites on proteins that inhibit a key cellular function. To develop resistance to such drugs, microbes would have to simultaneously develop mutations in all the target receptor pockets. Simultaneous mutations would be more challenging to the bugs than developing resistance in only one receptor site. The technique has been validated for a drug-resistant Escherichia coli.
Skolnick’s adventures with protein structures and functions have profound implications for the origins of life. For example, Skolnick and coworkers have shown that the ability to catalyze biochemical reactions is an intrinsic property of protein molecules, defined only by their structure and the principles of chemistry and physics. Accordingly, evolution is not necessary for the existence of proteins’ biochemical functions, although evolutionary selection may have optimized proteins for specific roles.
“The biochemical seeds of life could be prevalent,” Skolnick said about the work in 2016. “If you rain meteorites containing amino acids and somehow these polymerize to form small proteins, then a subset of these would fold to stable structure and a small subset of these could engage in rudimentary metabolism, all without any selection for biochemical function. Thus, the background probability for function is much larger than had been previously appreciated.”
By extension, extraterrestrial life could be ubiquitous.
The ability to do out-of-the-box research has been a hallmark of Skolnick’s career. “I am most grateful,” Skolnick says, “to the environment provided by Georgia Tech and to my collaborators who have enabled these ideas to come to fruition.”
Frank Stewart and Darren Joshua Parris are the recipients of the 2018 Education Partnership Award for their collaborative Summer Workshop in Marine Science (SWiMS) program. The award, from the Center for Teaching and Learning, recognizes genuine and substantial partnerships between the faculty and students of Georgia Tech and the K-12 community. Also receiving the award is their K-12 partner Jennifer Jones, a chemistry teacher at Rockdale County High School.
Stewart is an associate professor in the School of Biological Sciences and the advisor of Parris, a fifth-year Ph.D. student.
“I am honored and humbled to have the SWiMS partnership recognized by this award,” Stewart says. “SWiMS has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my career, largely because it fosters connections to people like Jennifer and Josh. These are the connections that are honored here and that are so critical for advancing science literacy in our schools and elsewhere.”
Stewart conceived SWiMS in 2012 as a way to promote understanding of ocean science and microbiology. With oil spills, coral reef collapse, sea level rise, and ocean acidification often being front-page news, he believes the general public should have a basic understanding of these phenomena. For Stewart, these issues are just as important to policymakers and the general public as they are to researchers.
SWiMS is a five-day workshop to help middle and high school teachers develop curricula and project-learning exercises to teach marine science in the context of global change. “My overarching goal was to use marine science to enhance earth and life science education in middle and high schools, specifically targeting those in academically underperforming districts in Fulton County,” Stewart says. SWiMS draws on the expertise of marine scientists at Georgia Tech and education experts at Georgia Tech’s Center for Education Integrating Science, Mathematics, and Computing (CEISMC).
Parris joined the program in summer 2015. “To put it bluntly, this program would likely not have been possible without Josh,” Stewart says.
Parris has roles throughout all stages of the program. He wrote, edited, and tested several of the education modules used in SWiMS. During workshops, he serves as instructor, preparing rigorously to guide the workshop participants.
SWiMS includes a two-day trip to Sapelo Island, a barrier island located in McIntosh County, Georgia. The trip provides participants firsthand experience and an opportunity to collect samples to take back to their classrooms. For this trip, Parris has served as primary field team leader, planning the logistics as well as conducting activities.
Most impressively, Stewart says, Parris continues to engage with teachers after the workshop. He helps teachers with curriculum-related problems arising during the school year and continues to prepare modules for teachers upon request. He recently visited Central Gwinnet High School to lecture about marine pollution.
“I am very grateful to have been a part of the SWiMS program,” Parris says. “I have been able to see firsthand the positive impact scientists can have outside of research. SWiMS is an awesome example of using partnerships between scientists and educators to advance science education in schools.”
Jones began as a participant in the workshop in 2015, returned as a mentor in 2016, and joined again in 2017 as an education consultant. A veteran teacher of 16 years, Jones had a keen sense of which concepts would translate into the classroom and which wouldn’t. Her unique insight was vital to identifying and troubleshooting obstacles and translating the curricula into targeted lesson plans. She also helped other teachers develop classroom-specific plans.
The collaboration of a scientist, a Ph.D. student, and a high school teacher has yielded remarkable outcomes. “The SWiMS program has enhanced my instruction in the classroom,” Jones says. “My students were able to understand that topics in science overlap: marine science touched Earth science, which touched environmental science, which touched chemistry. I am grateful to all the participants; they have inspired me to explore and expand my teaching so that students may experience science in a memorable way.”
Georgia Tech has selected Teresa Snow as a recipient of the 2018 Geoffrey G. Eichholz Faculty Teaching Award, administered by the Center for Teaching and Learning. A senior academic professional in the School of Biological Sciences, Snow oversees the required wellness courses APPH 1040, “Scientific Foundations of Health,” and APPH 1050, “Science of Physical Activity and Health”; teaches graduate-level applied statistics; and serves on curriculum-related committees.
The award recognizes faculty who provide outstanding teaching to students in core and general undergraduate courses and help students establish a solid foundation for their education at Georgia Tech. Colleagues say Snow empowers students to prioritize self-care and become critical health consumers.
Undeterred by the obstacles associated with teaching undergraduates in large lecture classes, Snow challenges students to think beyond the classroom and apply the knowledge in ways that will lead to healthier lifestyles and a healthier campus community. Innovation is the basis of her achievements.
For example, Snow transformed the required wellness course APPH 1040.
The course is unique because it directly touches students’ lives. It covers topics such as sleep, nutrition, and exercise, as well as sensitive issues facing students, such as mental health, sexual violence, and self-esteem.
To help students navigate these complicated matters, Snow provides a “safe and caring learning environment,” a colleague says. “She spends a great deal of time with students listening and recommending campus resources.”
“Teresa is highly respectful and honoring of all individuals… a rare and unique characteristic,” another colleague says. She goes out of her way to follow up and see how students are doing. In turn, students continue to contact Snow long after they have graduated to inform her of their accomplishments. A few of them are pursuing careers in health, crediting Snow for inspiring them.
Snow wanted the wellness requirement to provide students with additional opportunities to use practical knowledge to maintain a balanced, healthy lifestyle. So she partnered with members of the Student Government Association and the Campus Recreation Complex to create APPH 1050, which provides physical activity instruction. This course has been wildly successful, reaching maximum capacity ever since its inception. It is now also offered in the Pacific Study Abroad program.
Snow’s advocacy for health and well-being reaches beyond the classroom. She served on the executive committee for Georgia Tech’s first health and well-being coalition, Go T.E.C.H. (Teams Encouraging Campus Health). She currently is faculty advisor to Relay for Life at Georgia Tech, a year-long fundraising effort for the American Cancer Society.
“The most rewarding part of my job is working with Georgia Tech students,” Snow says. “They have a remarkable level of motivation, resourcefulness, and desire to make a difference. My role as a teacher is incredibly satisfying when I find ways to engage their enthusiasm and passion to learn.”
Georgia Tech has named Shana Kerr to receive the 2018 Class of 1940 W. Roane Beard Outstanding Teacher Award. An academic professional in the School of Biological Sciences, Kerr adds this award to two undergraduate advising honors she received in 2017 from Georgia Tech and from NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising.
Students are foremost for Kerr. From implementing student-centered teaching initiatives to mentoring students outside of class, Kerr demonstrates remarkable compassion for her students and passion for teaching.
Kerr aims to make every class she teaches to be as student-centered as possible, favoring interactive teaching over a lecture-only approach. She modifies class activities so that students engage with the course materials themselves instead of just passively listening.
Now in her sixth year of teaching at Georgia Tech, Kerr continues to adapt and use active learning strategies so that students don’t slip through the cracks, especially for big classes held in a lecture hall.
The main engagement strategy she uses for large classes is the “flipped” class. Students complete short readings, watch online videos, and take practice quizzes before class, and then during class, they work through activities and question sets in small teams to test and integrate their knowledge. For small classes, like Bioethics, she uses real-life case studies as the context and hook for discussing and applying course concepts.
Kerr’s education initiatives – for example, a project-based research experience for a laboratory course – have had career-changing impacts on students. Many students have switched their career focus from aspiring to be medical doctors to conducting scientific research because of Kerr’s influence.
Colleagues say that Kerr’s compassion when working tirelessly with students is what truly makes her stand out. When students aren’t performing to their potential, Kerr notices, and she takes action. She invites students to office hours, checks in with their academic advisors, and makes referrals to the Dean of Students when necessary. “She shows endless patience until students learn concepts to her satisfaction,” a colleague says.
“One of the most inspiring aspects of working with Georgia Tech students is their continual motivation to acquire new knowledge and make new mental connections,” Kerr says. “I aim to challenge my students and to provide the resources and scaffolding they need to meet and exceed these and future challenges. I’m humbled to be recognized for my teaching efforts by the Class of 1940 W. Roane Beard Outstanding Teacher Award.”
Here's a thought to make your skin crawl: Viruses are the most abundant entities on the planet by far. And trillions upon trillions fall from the sky every day, according to a recent study that was the first to tell us just how many viruses float above the Earth. Now you know why School of Biological Sciences Professor Joshua Weitz was one of three researchers calling for a better understanding of viral ecology in a 2017 editorial in Nautilus. There is a silver lining to this virus deluge; some of them may actually be good for their hosts.
Maggots aren't the cutest creatures. But David Hu, who is affiliated with the School of Physics and the School of Biological Sciences, spends time with them in a lab, studying their motion to determine how they are able to eat food so efficiently. Hu's lab is not a creepy, crawling maggot madhouse without a purpose: these creatures may be harnessed for breaking down waste.
Before going to college, Akinade A. Ojemakinde spent his entire life in Southwest Georgia with his father, mother, and older sister. “From my very first day of school to my very last, I was continuously surrounded by high-achieving classmates and friends, as well as supportive teachers and family,” Ojemakinde says of his high school days, in Lee County High School, in Leesburg, Georgia, where he also played trombone in the band and fullback in the soccer team.
Because he wanted to go to medical school, finding a college with a highly rated biology department and research opportunities was his top priority. “Being one of the most rigorous, top-tier research institutions in the nation, Georgia Tech quickly caught my interest,” Ojemakinde says. In addition to Tech neither being too far nor too close to his family, receiving a full-ride merit scholarship from the Stamps President’s Scholarship Program sealed the deal for him to attend Georgia Tech.
Now, Ojemakinde is graduating with a B.S. in Biology, one step closer to his dream of becoming a surgeon.
How did Georgia Tech meet your expectations?
Georgia Tech provided excellent opportunities to conduct high-quality, stimulating research, as a part of courses and in the lab of Patrick McGrath in the School of Biological Sciences.
Tech lived up to the hype and repeatedly challenged me academically; thanks, organic chemistry!
Not only did my research and tougher courses force me to recognize and understand my personal strengths and weaknesses, but they also taught me to ask for assistance more quickly and to work more collaboratively.
"I believe that the science foundation I obtained at Georgia Tech is much stronger than those of my graduate-school peers. Georgia Tech has prepared me well for medical school and my career as a physician."
What are your proudest achievements at Georgia Tech?
In addition to consistently making the Dean’s List and receiving Faculty Honors, I am proud to have served the American Red Cross Club at Georgia Tech as the chair of campus blood drives for three years.
This position combined my passion for donating with the responsibility of ensuring that my peers could donate as well. It was challenging to organize blood drives and reach high donation goals, but I enjoyed planning and facilitating many successful blood drives.
I had great success in the McGrath lab, helping with directed-evolution experiments, analyzing experimental results, and conducting next-generation sequencing to identify the genetic changes responsible for differences in the fitness of the experimental worms C. elegans. My work will lead to a publication and insight into how genetic variation contributes to fitness and the basic rules of metazoan evolution.
Which professors or classes made a big impact on you?
I had Shana Kerr as an instructor nearly every semester. She challenged me in the classroom, presented me numerous opportunities and supported me outside the classroom, and clearly demonstrated her desire for me and others to succeed. She is a significant factor in my success at Georgia Tech.
Courses like Organic Chemistry I and II showed me that I would not enjoy being like Walter Whitman from Breaking Bad. Others like Human Anatomy and Human Physiology significantly influenced my decision to go to medical school and gave me a glimpse of what I can look forward to.
What is your most vivid memory of Georgia Tech?
I’ll never forget playing indoor soccer during my freshman year! I was so happy to play indoor for the first time and join Tech’s soccer community. While playing, however, I collided with an opposing player, tore my left ACL (anterior cruciate ligament), and needed orthopedic surgery to repair it. Nevertheless, this accident couldn’t keep me off the pitch for long!
How did Georgia Tech transform your life?
I used to feel as if I was memorizing facts just to pass exams, and I did not see how certain classes were applicable to my future. Being involved in research changed my perception about the classroom. I now view it as a resource to help me in the lab. This attitude has improved my comprehension and retention of what is taught in class.
My years of work in the McGrath Lab led not only to intellectual, but also to personal, growth. Having to effectively communicate experimental plans and results improved my speaking skills and ability to converse with others about science.
I developed genuine passion for service and medicine. My involvement with the American Red Cross Club at Georgia Tech, the Georgia Tech Excel Program, and the School of Biological Sciences strengthened my belief in the importance of service and love for biological sciences.
Georgia Tech solidified my decision to pursue medicine and dedicate my life to the well-being and health of my community.
What unique learning activities did you undertake?
I was exposed to medicine in practice by working as a medical scribe in the Emergency Department of Atlanta Medical Center. Working two 10-hour night shifts a week in a fast-paced environment transformed my life. With guidance from skilled physicians, I became fluent in medical terminology and confident in my ability to perform in a professional, medical environment.
Doing research in the McGrath Lab for two years was one of my most meaningful and impactful experiences. I had to learn by observing or following the careful instructions of a graduate student in the lab. When I acquired enough expertise, I eventually taught my lab peers what I learned. The ability to apply and teach what I learn will be of great use in medical school and beyond.
What advice would you give to incoming undergraduate students at Georgia Tech?
Be intentional with your time, and learn how to balance your obligations as quickly as possible. There is so much class work to do and so much fun to be had that it is impossible to do everything.
If one makes a conscious effort to balance academic, social, and sleep (please get some sleep!) obligations, everything else will fall into place.
Where are you headed after graduation?
I am headed to Emory University School of Medicine. I wish to specialize in either orthopedic or cardiothoracic surgery.
I believe that the science foundation I obtained at Georgia Tech is much stronger than those of my graduate-school peers. Georgia Tech has prepared me well for medical school and my career as a physician.