Kurt Zimmerman

GS: Where are you from?
KZ: I am from Westboro, Wisconsin.
GS: What degree will you receive and when?
KZ: I plan to receive my Ph.D. in Pathology in the fall of 2014.
GS: How long have you been at UAB?
KZ: I entered the Integrated Biomedical Science (IBS) entry portal into the Joint Health Sciences PhD program  in July of 2009.
GS: What is your research? 
KZ: My research looks at the effects of the ER stress response protein calreticulin on progression of fibrotic and fibroproliferative diseases.  In particular, I have focused on the mechanism by which calreticulin regulates TGF-β stimulated matrix production in several cell types.  Recently we have begun to look at the effects of calreticulin knockdown in vivo in models of intimal hyperplasia.
GS: Why did you choose UAB for your graduate studies?
KZ: I really liked the Integrated Biomedical Science (IBS) entry portal and the flexibility it gave me with regards to choosing a lab.  Also, the significant research funding at UAB was very important to me.  Plus, I wanted to see a new part of the country!
GS: Have you received any awards or honors?
KZ: Yes, I have won several awards as a graduate student at UAB.  I have received 3 travel grants from the Department of Molecular and Cellular Pathology at UAB.  I was selected as a speaker twice for national meetings and received awards for both selections.  I was also selected as a travel awardee for the Calreticulin conference last spring. I have received 1st place in Graduate Student Research Days and been funded on the T32 training grant in Cardiovascular Pathophysiology for the last 3 years.  Finally, I was named Joint Health Science outstanding student for 2014 at the UAB awards convocation in April.
GS: What has been your most rewarding experience at UAB?
KZ: My most rewarding experience at UAB has been the interactions with my mentor and lab as well as with the numerous friends I have made.
GS: Who was your greatest influence here at UAB and why?
KZ: Dr. Joanne Murphy-Ullrich has been my greatest influence while in graduate school.  Dr. Murphy-Ullrich has greatly enhanced my skills as a scientist through thought provoking conversations and lab meetings.  Also, she has really helped me become a better scientific writer. 
GS: What is your motivation in your academics/research?
KZ: My motivation comes from my want to help other people.  I have tried to focus not only on my graduate studies while at UAB, but also on volunteering in the community and being a well-rounded individual.  I really believe that a want to help others is the basis of why students do research.
GS: What are your plans after graduating and for the future?

Following graduation, I plan on doing a post-doc with a career goal of becoming a tenured professor at a smaller university.


Kurt’s Advice for Other Graduate Students:
My only advice to graduate students is to make sure you have balance in your life.  While I believe working hard is the key to success in graduate school, you also need to take time to enjoy your life and relax!