Health Disparities Research and Biotechnology

SUMMARY: Simon Anderson (’22) combines innovative physical science and competencies essential to assist men and women of various backgrounds, capacities, and beliefs.

Simon Anderson is building an Independent Students important all-around disparities in wellbeing and healthcare that stem from broader troubles of diversity, equity, and inclusion. His main emphasizes coursework in biology and the clinical humanities. Simon is also pursuing a degree in Biotechnology, with minors in Honors Interdisciplinary Experiments and Pre-Medicine. “Simon is a key example of a Biotech scholar at JMU–passionate, identified, engaged, and modern,” claims Dr. Stephanie Stockwell, past director of the Biotechnology software. “By combining a extensive array of passions and abilities, Simon is paving the way for a lifetime of success and beneficial effects.”

Simon is a graduate of South County High College in Fairfax County, Virginia, wherever he finished a demanding set of AP programs that nurtured his passions for math, biology, and chemistry. He also participated in the Governor’s Faculty for Drugs and Wellness Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University in the summertime of 2017. In the course of this software he labored with other learners to analyze scenario experiments from 3 perspectives: Particular person (in-human being interviews with the “patient”), Scientist (lab tests and results), and Neighborhood (implications of the ailment for the bordering individuals)—before splitting into smaller groups and examining a situation examine from all a few perspectives at the same time. “In the area I grew up in, illness and damage have been the major reasons folks went to the healthcare facility, not for solutions related to opioid abuse,” Simon remembers. “But I discovered that opioid abuse was also getting a huge dilemma.” Later on, at JMU, he acquired about the value of community and county distant entry clinics. “It’s not just in cities the place men and women lack health care providers,” claims Simon. “If you’re in a rural spot you may well also not have entry.”

 Simon Anderson in lab

Simon took a Viral Discovery (ISAT 203) training course with ISAT professor Dr. Louise Temple in his freshman semester. In that course, Simon experienced his very first genuine encounter with laboratory research. Viral Discovery is an exploratory experiential science class made for incoming freshmen. Pupils learn about the lifetime cycle and ecology of viruses infecting micro organism, obtain soil samples, and practice techniques for isolation and purification of viruses from the soil. Dr. Temple is an pro in bacterial pathogenesis and bacterial virus discovery and genomic analysis. Isolated viruses are visualized in her lab utilizing electron microscopy, and the genomic substance is isolated and ready for nucleic acid sequencing. “Dr. Temple’s course constructed self-confidence in my skill to evaluate a issue and arrive up with alternatives in a placing exactly where there is adaptable framework and no suitable reply,” Simon recollects. He wished to preserve on with the operate he had invested in phages, and so joined Dr. Temple’s lab. Simon has uncovered a amount of worthwhile tactics relevant to DNA isolation and annotation, and is crafting a paper about phages.   

More just lately, Simon enrolled in Most cancers Genetics (BIO 477) with Dr. Tim Bloss, associate professor of biology. The system is cross-shown as a graduate-amount training course (BIO 577). “I really appreciated finding out about how most cancers develops and progresses,” he says. “Learning about molecular malfunctions in most cancers can help me think about how I may possibly develop and check remedies in the future.” Simon notes that Dr. Bloss is gifted at detailing genetics to college students at both of those a fundamental and advanced level.

Simon is also a instructing assistant for JMU’s Basic Chemistry laboratory programs (CHEM 131L and CHEM 132L). The system is built to acquaint pupils with fundamental strategies and techniques encountered in the chemical laboratory. The experiments illustrate these strategies and dietary supplement lectures. Simon offers instruction to learners and assists with in-class treatments. He also digitally opinions on students’ lab plans, data, and reports. It was a complicated, hybrid calendar year of lab instruction because of to the COVID pandemic. At first professors filmed experiments in the lab them selves, and then trialed virtual lab simulation computer software. This spring, Simon and other assistants returned to the labs to educate students. “Proper use of pipette filler bulbs is just one lesson we educate,” notes Simon, “People seem to have a good deal of difficulties with them.”

Simon joined Unbiased Scholars to extend and broaden his undergraduate schooling. He recognized that health care faculties want to see pupils get ready by themselves with an schooling in both science and the humanities. Simon observed the Professional medical Humanities insignificant in the JMU catalog, and realized that he might create a main close to it. Simon’s important is entitled “Social Accountability in Health care.” It combines physical science and competencies needed to help individuals of different backgrounds, capacities, and beliefs.

“I required to consider far more courses throughout a wider variety of subjects,” suggests Simon. “The Independent Students major built it attainable to choose a bunch of science classes that created a broader base all-around clinical humanities.” Simon hopes that the Unbiased Students major will give him exposure to a minimal little bit of every little thing: biology, chemistry, bioinformatics, sociology, anthropology, psychology, and philosophy. “I am just starting to know the connections in between anything,” he suggests. “I want to comprehend how my exploration into biology and chemistry intersects with disparities in health care and outside of.”

Simon says he likes the Unbiased Students method to learning: “I produce my questions, and then glance for programs and experiences that can aid me reply individuals inquiries. I wished a thing unique, to pick out an place of research in which the issues aren’t effectively founded, or the answers known.” Simon has prepared about the complexities of healthcare for the Independent Students e-zine on various instances. In his essays, Simon seeks responses to enduring queries: “What does it indicate to be a medical professional in our globalized entire world?” “How do institutions take care of persons of different backgrounds in different ways?” “What is ‘healthy,’ and who gets to make your mind up what ‘healthy’ is?” “What are the impacts of structural and institutional prejudices?” he asks. Simon is presently finding out and writing about how human being-oriented perspectives – characterised by a holistic technique to client management that embraces the bodily, psychological, and social facets of wellbeing and disorder – are getting to be crucial to undergraduate pre-clinical training. His essays may be accessed in this article.

Impartial Scholars students complete a culminating capstone task. Simon’s challenge has implications for the mitigation of racial disparities in health. He notes that, irrespective of getting approximately equivalent premiums of breast cancer as non-Hispanic white females, African-American women are 40% additional most likely to die from the disease than white women of all ages, encounter the optimum breast most cancers mortality of any racial group, and have an escalating amount of incidence of breast cancer. African American females are also more probable to have hormone-dependent breast cancers, which are deadlier than hormone-unbiased tumors.

“Researchers have demonstrated that providing the protein HES-1 to hormone-dependent breast cancers has the outcome of reducing a nuclear protein identified as PCNA (located in dividing cells), which inhibits proliferation of the tumor,” describes Simon. “We’re trying to demonstrate that oxidative anxiety will prompt generation of the GFP encoded powering an hlh-29 promoter to increase inexperienced fluorescent protein expression in all cells.” If Simon’s challenge can give evidence that oxidative strain is able of growing cells’ amounts of proteins like HES-1, then they will have also laid the groundwork for likely scientific programs. One these types of software could be the induction of localized oxidative tension in tumors in an endeavor to stall their proliferation, which would offer other therapies with an prospect to shrink and kill the most cancers.”

Simon was a member of JMU’s Huber Residential Understanding Group (RLC) for freshmen in 2018-2019. The Huber RLC (which no extended operates) required two classes, 1 in each individual of the students’ initial semesters. These classes concentrated on how distinctive fields of medication coexist, and gave a location for assessment and dialogue of the social determinants of wellness. In the next semester, each student was necessary to volunteer with overall health- and schooling-associated providers in Rockingham County and Harrisonburg. Simon volunteered with the Virginia Particular Responsibility Instruction Software Modern Procedures (VPREIS) venture by way of JMU’s Institute for Innovation in Health and Human Services (IIHHS). His volunteer work provided doing work by way of the units of VPREIS’s Eyesight of You—a software for teenager sexual and social well being education, at the moment being administered to at-threat youth as aspect of a randomized controlled examine in reducing teen pregnancy in Virginia. Simon also volunteered at the ECHO (Ecumenical Group Aiding Many others) foods pantry in Springfield, Virginia for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the summer of 2021, Simon participated in a digital summer time investigate internship with the Pediatric Oncology Department of the Countrywide Cancer Institute.  Through the working experience, he labored on three assignments that determined novel possible molecular targets in neuroblastoma, devised assembly techniques for creating new chimeric antigen receptors, and reviewed transcripts, patient facts, and trial design documents for new psychological health and fitness packages.  He also attended each day interactive seminars on several topics, which includes pediatric bone and neural cancers, most cancers predisposition syndromes, lab mouse genetics, translation of basic science into therapies, and patient advocacy.  Outside of the POB, he participated in an immunotherapy journal club, and two workshops on health disparities and social injustice in overall health exploration.

Simon also nurtures interests in how things are manufactured. He enjoys viewing video clips about how the Disney and Common concept parks generate their engineered sights, and builds versions of landmarks and equipment from all-around the globe. In the summer season of 2019, Simon taught LEGO Robotics courses to young folks in the Fairfax Collegiate Summer months Program, dependent in Herndon.