As I navigate through my pre-med journey, the vibrant world of computational biology has become my academic sanctuary, where I am constantly surrounded by like-minded individuals. With each passing year, I delve deeper into my specialization, thus allowing me fewer opportunities to collaborate with students from different majors. Amidst this narrowing path, the Brackenridge Research Fellowship emerges as a shimmering beacon of light, offering an invaluable platform for me to connect with fellow undergraduates across various disciplines. I believe through interdisciplinary collaboration, we can exchange ideas and expertise that will not only enrich my own research, but also cultivate a holistic understanding of diverse fields. I hope to engage in meaningful discussions with my peers where I can gain valuable insights into their research process, project management, and effective strategies for overcoming obstacles.
The Brackenridge program facilitates seamless collaboration by effectively integrating students into cohorts composed of individuals from various backgrounds. My group consisted of me, Anna, Isaac, and Vasudha. Anna’s project is on the neurological basis of externalizing behavior in adolescents; she’s trying to find a correlation between certain neurometabolism with questionnaire scores based on self-reported externalizing symptoms. Isaac’s working on creating a pain measurement tool called “painimation” to discover and trial new ways for patients to express pain. Vasudha is researching trans archival materials to learn how trans people have historically navigated the medical industrial complex and collectively strategized to receive gender affirming care. Lastly, my project focuses on finding an effective compound to target aberrant angiogenesis as these unregulated blood vessels supply nutrients and oxygen to cancer cells. Despite the diversity in our projects, a common thread of purpose runs through each of them – a commitment to improving healthcare outcomes and making a positive impact on individuals’ lives. By combining our knowledge, insights, and resources, we can amplify the impact of our individual endeavors and contribute to a more comprehensive and holistic approach to healthcare. The synergies that arise from our collaboration within the Brackenridge program have the potential to propel us towards breakthroughs, ultimately benefiting the healthcare field as a whole. For instance, my research on finding an effective compound to target aberrant angiogenesis in cancer cells can greatly benefit from the expertise of my fellow Brackenridge scholars. Anna’s study on the neurological basis of externalizing behavior in adolescents may provide valuable insights into the underlying mechanisms that drive tumor angiogenesis. Isaac’s work on pain measurement tools could help us understand the pain experiences of cancer patients and their response to potential treatments. Vasudha’s research on historical strategies used by trans people to navigate the medical industrial complex may offer unique perspectives on patient advocacy and inclusive healthcare practices. Together, I aspire to collaborate with my peers to drive innovation and bring about meaningful change in the world.