Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
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Zach Reitman

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Zach Reitman Aug 2011I graduated from Penn State with a BMB major in 2006 and am currently an M.D./Ph.D. student at Duke University. I've completed two years of medical school and three years of my Ph.D. training in a top-notch brain tumor genetics laboratory. My experience as a BMB major at Penn State laid the foundation for success after graduation.

BMB was an especially powerful degree because it provided biology training comparable to a Biology degree at most universities, in addition to rigorous Physics and Chemistry coursework. This combination was the perfect fit to excel at the difficult MCAT that is required by medical schools. That combination of science training also helped me to think about the science behind patients' diseases during my medical school training, and allowed me to "hit the ground runnng" during my Ph.D. training.

The experience I had as an undergraduate assistant in Dr. Craig Cameron's lab was invaluable during my Ph.D. training. First, it opened my eyes to academic science so that the learning curve as a Ph.D. student was not as high as it would have been otherwise. Also, the undergraduate lab experience made me an expert on protein purification and enzyme assays so that in my Ph.D. lab I was able to quickly make new discoveries and publish my work early in my Ph.D.

Now that I've graduated and am working on further training in medicine and science, I can appreciate that BMB provides unique skills that people with Chemistry-only or Biology-only backgrounds simply don't have. Often the advantage is as simple as being able to "speak the same language" as biologists who are interested in mouse models of human disease, and as chemists and physicists who can perform powerful mass spectrometry-based assays to better understand disease metabolism.


Check out this link to new research from this BMB graduate:
Cancer Research Yields Unexpected Way to Produce Nylon