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Alumni Profiles

Kevin Anderson

Anderson_KevinI was born in Heidelberg, Germany but I moved around a lot when I was young because my dad was in the military. So for all intensive purposes we can say I'm from Harvest, AL; I've been there since late middle school. I went to Sparkman High School in Harvest. At UAB I graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors in Biomedical Engineering, with Honors in Science and Technology. I am currently in my first year of my PhD program at Cornell University, studying Biomedical Engineering. I am in the lab of Dr. Micheal King, my mentor, and my thesis project is to modify and apply a Multiparticle Adhesive Dynamics Simulation that he developed to predict the rolling and adhesion of circulating tumor microemboli on inflamed endothelium. I am trying to use the data obtained from simulations to elucidate some of the mechanisms underlying cancer metastasis and compare the behavior of circulating tumor microemboli (cancer cell aggregates) relative to circulating tumor cells (solitary cancer cells). I don't have concrete long term goals, but my broad goal is to enter industry im some position to work on drug design.

Basil Bakir

Bakir_BasilI grew up in Montgomery, AL and attended Loveless Academic Magnet Program. I left high school knowing that I was interested in mental health research and psychiatry and knew that I wanted to pursue an MD/PhD degree after graduating college. I chose to attend UAB because the opportunities the Sci Tech program offered in terms of lab experience, which I knew would be critical for developing the skills necessary to be in an MD/PhD program. STH helped me very quickly to find a lab, and by my sophomore year, I was working in a schizophrenia lab that focused on understanding the role of a neurotransmitter called glutamate in this devastating disorder. My time in lab was formative for me, as it made me certain that I wanted to pursue graduate training. Additionally, Sci Tech helped me develop contacts with faculty members who were instrumental in helping me when it came time to pursue admission to MD/PhD programs and to attend scientific conferences, including the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. I was very fortunate to be accepted to the University of Pennsylvania MD/PhD program, which is where I am now currently in my third year. During the first two years, I completed half of my medical training, where I fell in love with oncology, particularly pancreatic cancer. I currently hope to pursue a dual residency in internal medicine/psychiatry followed by an oncology fellowship so I may treat  oncology patients who have comorbid psychiatric disorders.  My PhD training is currently in pancreatic cancer, focusing on the role of p120, a protein that is important in cellular adhesion and seems to play a role in tumor suppression.  I credit my ability to pursue these goals to the guidance and support of UAB’s Sci Tech Program and the phenomenal help Dr. Tucker and my lab mentors (Dr. James Meador-Woodruff, Dr. Robert McCullumsmith, and Dr. Lars Kristiansen) gave me at UAB.

Kathleen Blair Farley

Farley_BlairI’m from Homewood, Alabama. I went to high school at the Alabama School of Fine Arts where I specialized in Math and Science. I graduated from UAB magna cum laude with a BS in mechanical engineering. I am now a research engineer with Southern Company where I study electric transportation. I evaluate on-road and non-road vehicles (electric forklifts, cranes, all-terrain vehicles, etc), charging equipment, battery technologies, and required infrastructure. I expect to be starting grad school in the fall, also in mechanical engineering. Long term, I’d like to get one or two Master’s degrees (I’d like to move into some electrical engineering work. It would be challenging, but really interesting, I think) and my PE license. I really enjoy the work I do now and see myself working with electric transportation in some facet, hopefully at Southern Company or one of its subsidiaries, for a long time.

Kelli Money

Money_KelliI grew up in the small town of Headland, Alabama, and graduated from Headland High School in 2005. I spent five years at UAB, majoring in Chemistry and minoring in Spanish. It was exciting to be a part of the first class of the Science and Technology Honors Program and play a role in shaping the program for future students. The program helped me to discover my own interests and define my goals. It was through the many exposures to different types and areas of research that I found my curiosity for neuroscience. My honors thesis research focused on the involvement of the effects of epigenetic changes in spatial learning and memory. By globally decreasing a specific epigenetic mechanism - DNA methylation, we saw electrophysiological changes reflective of destabilized firing of the hippocampal pyramidal cells involved in spatial learning and memory. I graduated from UAB in 2010 Magna cum laude with honors in chemistry. The Vanderbilt University School of Medicine MD/PhD program has been my home ever since. I intend to get my Ph.D. in Neuroscience and pursue a residency in Neurology. I plan to become a physician scientist at an academic medical center and hope to make significant contributions both to patient care and the field of neuroscience. 

Matt Morton

Morton_MattI grew up in Trussville, AL and attended the Jefferson County International Baccalaureate School for high school, where I graduated in 2006.  In 2010, I graduated summa cum laude from the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Engineering (BS BME).  I chose to attend the Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) School of Medicine in Cleveland, OH the following year.  While in Cleveland, I have had the opportunity to work with Cheryl Thompson, PhD, an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at CWRU, to study RNA sequencing-based computational methods available for the detection of gene fusions that may be implicated in the development or progression of certain cancers.  Our future work will focus on the relationship of certain RNAs to the progression of lung cancer.  After medical school I will likely complete a residency in Internal Medicine and pursue a fellowship and career in Infectious Diseases, though at this time I have not yet committed to a specialty.  While practicing, I hope to collaborate in clinical research aimed at developing and identifying new therapies for individuals living with chronic conditions.

Frank (Finn) Perkins IV

Perkins_FinnI am from Huntsville, AL where I graduated from Randolph School.  My STH thesis was centered around the synthesis of hydroxyapatite nanorods for use in tissue engineering, specifically within a collagen matrix with the long term goal of producing a bone analog.  I graduated from UAB in 2010 with University Honors in Science and Technology, Departmental Honors in Physics, and Magna Cum Laude.  STH gave me the environment to pursue and experience research near a PhD level while an undergraduate.  Rather than entering my research lab as a technician, I met regularly with my mentor to learn and make decisions on my research, wrote and presented a research proposal to a committee comprised of interdisciplinary PhDs, and remained responsible to that committee throughout the end of my research.  I am currently a medical student at UASOM.  My future interests are in Emergency and Internal Medicine.

Jose Roman

Roman_JoseI grew up in Madison, Alabama and attended Bob Jones High School.  I graduated with a bachelor's of science in biomedical engineering with honors in biomedical engineering (BSBME), honors in science and technology, and cum laude. I am currently a biomedical engineering PhD student at the Johns Hopkins University studying with a focus on neuroengineering. Specifically, I am currently collaborating between Drs. Andres Hurtado and Hai-Quan Mao on developing novel biomaterials to promote the repair of a traumatically injured spinal cord.  My current long-term plans are to work in government or academia and continue my research interests in spinal cord injury research.