Daija Green
Daija Green
My name is Daija Green, born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana. I am a rising Senior at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. I major in Biology Pre-Medicine am double minoring in Chemistry and Theatre. I am a part of many organizations on and off campus. I have many hobbies that include acting, dancing, cooking, community service and lastly shopping. This is my first summer research internship and I have the pleasure of working in the labs of Dr. Frank Simmen and Dr. Rosalia Simmen. I am excited to learn new techniques, and valuable information that I will need in my future. A goal I have is to network around the hospital as well as other research labs this summer. Upon graduating from Jackson State University, I plan to pursue a career as a Physicians Assistant.
Smit Patel
Smit Patel
Greetings, Y'all! My name is Smit Patel. I am a sophomore Biomedical Engineering student at the University of Arkansas. When human beings experience severe life stressors, it is not uncommon for their lives to become complicated with unanswered questions. Having seen someone I love deeply go through many such stressors because of being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), a neurodegenerative disease, I started seeking simple answers to these complex problems. At first, I did so with frustration; now I do so with curiosity and joy because of the realization that enjoying the journey is vital in solving these problems. Looking for simple answers to complex problems have led to some of the most remarkable people in many different parts of the world. A couple of those remarkable people happen to be Dr. Patricia Wight and Pankaj Patyal. I am blessed to be part of Dr. Wight’s lab this Summer 2019. Dr. Wight and Pankaj are helping me understand the cellular and molecular biology behind certain brain diseases. I am also learning a lot about the genetic mechanisms that are the key factors in neurodegenerative diseases such as Spastic Paraplegia Type 2 (SPG2). I am also learning how interconnected our human body is. I recently found out in lab how enteric nervous system (ENS) and central nervous system(CNS) are connected. Pankaj showed a paper which highlighted how ENS might be playing a role in MS patients and that was amazing to learn. I am blown away by the number of new things I get to learn every day. A little about my life before college: I am originally from India, but I completed my high school education from Palestine-Wheatley High School in Palestine, AR. Palestine is a small town of 600 people in Northeast Arkansas. I aim to go to medical school after finishing my bachelor’s in biomedical engineering. Through my education in Biomedical Engineering and medicine, my experience in research and public relations, I aim to create teams and programs that positively impact weakened communities. I want to spread kindness, laughter, and happiness along the way. To practice spreading happiness and laughter, I also produce and host a podcast called “Distance Traveled”, a place where we signify the lessons from the literal and metaphorical journeys of amazing individuals. If anyone from the department would like to share the many life-changing lessons from their amazing journeys, I would be honored to sit down and do a show with you. I love talking to and meeting new people. I am looking forward to meeting everyone in the department. If you have any free time to spare from your extremely busy schedule and want to check out some of the podcasts I have done, you can listen to them here: https://soundcloud.com/user-351445544
Seth Ransom with wife and dogs
Seth Ransom
Hi, my name is Seth Ransom and I am a medical student going into my second year at UAMS. I would like to see and contribute to medicine through every angle I can to better grasp and appreciate the field in its entirety. I grew up about an hour north of Little Rock in Searcy, AR. My wife, Payton, is in PA school at UAMS so it is very fun in that we get to develop our medical knowledge together. We have two dogs, Lincoln and Rosie, who we love dearly and enjoy spending time with. I have a passion for cooking, as does my wife, thus I love to eat. I joined Dr. Morello’s lab so he and Milena can teach me how to cook Italian food… And because I am very interested in bone research, specifically bone genetics and regenerative medicine. I am very excited for what the future holds for our Rab33b mutant project and the potential implications it may have.
Nikyshaliz Velazquez
Nikyshaliz “Nicky” Velazquez
My name is Nikyshaliz Velázquez. I’m 21 years old and I currently live in Las Piedras, Puerto Rico. I come from a small family where I used to live with my parents and my brother. I’m currently in my fourth academic year in Microbiology with a minor in Marine Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Humacao Campus. Ever since I was young, I knew I wanted to focus my studies in the field of science. Growing up I questioned my surroundings like any good scientist would do to try to understand the world around me. I come from a humble family that lives in the country and every day was like an adventure for me, considering I had the opportunity to explore and experience my environment. I decided to study microbiology because in my mind, I always wondered how it was possible that a person could get sick from one day to the next and the different transmission factors that played into this. For my minor, I made the decision to take courses related to Marine Biology, in order to merge them with Microbiology. I researched the most outstanding courses and universities in this field and decided to apply for an academic exchange at the University of Alaska Southeast, where I was accepted for Fall 2017. It was an unforgettable experience thanks to the different courses I took and being pushed out of my comfort zone, I was able to grow academically and personally. It was my first time away from the island, Puerto Rico, for so long and it took me a while to adapt completely, however, it was the best decision of my life. I had the chance to meet excellent professors and had countless academic opportunities. Unfortunately, in that year Hurricane María hit Puerto Rico. It was the most catastrophic event in so many years. This hurricane destroyed practically the entire island. In my case, we had a lot of damage in my community and even my university was devastated. However, I lost my great-grandfather because of the health care after the event. The consequences of the hurricane caused him asthma, eventually worsened and unfortunately, he passed away at the age of 97. On the other hand, once I finish my Bachelor’s Degree, I’m thinking to attend graduate school for a PhD. I plan to expand within the branch of Microbiology and Immunology. The Microbiology and Immunology program involves immune cells, bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. In this program, I can investigate the ecology, evolution and environments of micro-organisms, the diseases they cause, the microbiome and its influence on the immune system and our health, immunity and disease. I am also interested in being able to contribute towards research on antibiotic resistance, designing new combination drug therapies, using microbial engineering in industrial processing, environmental remediation, determining how our immune system can best protect us against infection and cancer, and using this information to design new immunotherapies and treatments for inflammation and auto-immune diseases. My goal is to continue studying diseases such as cancer and try to find possible cures or treatments to combat these diseases. I think having this opportunity in summer research at UAMS, being such a prestigious university in the first place, would be an honor, because I feel that I will acquire a unique experience in the area of science that I specialize in and would that would greatly help in my future plans; this experience would aid me in findings a niche within this profession and community of biologists. It would also help me develop a spirit of academic collaboration by working with other peers. I hope to be part of this experience and I promise to give it my all, especially because the experience at your university will serve me immensely in my future.
Jon Ward
Jon Ward
Jon Ward is a rising senior at Harding University. He is a Molecular and Cellular Biology major interested in going to medical school. He’s working in Dr. Rosalia Simmen’s lab to assist in a project regarding obesity and breast cancer. We are trying to better understand why premenopausal non-obese women have a higher risk for breast cancer than obese women, while breast cancer of postmenopausal women is positively associated with obesity. Besides working with you all in BioMed 1 and 2 this summer, Jon has spent two summers working in inpatient psychiatric units at his hometown hospital and one summer working with the group Health Talents International to provide long-term healthcare in rural Guatemala. Jon enjoys playing racquetball and watching the Great British Baking show.
Karsten Winter
Karsten Amezcua Winter
My name is Karsten Amezcua Winter. I migrated from Michoacán, Mexico to El Paso, TX when I was 17 years old. I then became an U.S. citizen two years ago. I graduated with a biochemistry bachelors at the University of Texas at El Paso. I want to pursue a career as a medical doctor. I want to serve underserved areas in the borderline and become a researcher. Currently, I am exploring different areas of research to find my true path being future researcher. I have done research with Chagas disease and leishmaniasis in the past. Now I am working in Dr. Morello’s laboratory who I know will mentor and guide me for my future. Caffeine is what keeps me alive. I like to do weightlifting in my free time and walk my dog. This is not my dog by the way, I found this little girl once walking around the street. Luckily, she got a new loving home. If anyone else would like to introduce me to their research work I am happy to learn.