Human Science Seniors Conduct Lab Research, Plan Medical Career

SEPTEMBER 24, 2013 - Human science majors David Christian (NHS’14) and Meredith Horton (NHS’14) have spent the past year researching two types of cancer.

The seniors, who are applying to medical school, work alongside physiologist Jason Tilan, PhD, assistant professor of nursing and human science, to better understand the underlying mechanisms of Ewing’s sarcoma and neuroblastoma.

“We both really like [the research],” says Christian.  “It’s made a connection between the clinic and the bench.  You think about being a doctor and providing the best care, but you don’t always think about the stuff that goes on behind the scenes.  You don’t have new treatments and improved health care without understanding the disease first.”

Christian, Horton, and Tilan are working in the laboratory of Joanna Kitlinska, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cellular Biology at Georgetown University Medical Center.

‘Outside the Box’

Christian and Horton say they learned about the research opportunity during one of their human science classes when Tilan came to invite interested undergraduates to apply for a position in the laboratory.

Since that time, they have taken part in the studies during the academic year, as well as this past summer through funding from the Georgetown Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (GUROP).

“People don’t tend to think of science as having a lot of creativity, but you really have to think outside the box,” Horton says.

Strong Relationships

As they prepare for life after graduation, Christian and Horton say they are happy with their choice in major.

“That’s the reason I chose Georgetown,” Horton says.  “I really wanted to focus on the human side of science.”

Both cite the strong relationship that exists between professors and students within the major, as well as the camaraderie among classmates.

More About the Students

Christian, who is from Wisconsin, is a teaching assistant in a genetics course, serves on the board of the Georgetown chapter of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and participated in the Translational Health Science Internship in Argentina in 2012.

Horton, a New Jersey native, is a pathophysiology tutor, a member of the Georgetown University Step Team, and an inductee in the Georgetown chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu, the national honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities.

By Bill Cessato