Alumni and Careers

Marie Nzeyimana, Class of '22

Marie Nzeyimana '22

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Sociology

"Taking Biochemistry and Cell Biology, as well as P-chem were by far the hardest classes I have taken in my life. I left each course feeling more confident in my abilities as a student, and as a young adult...The skills I learned in those classes are helping me now as I navigate traveling the world solo as a woman of color."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

Taking Biochemistry and Cell Biology, as well as P-chem were by far the hardest classes I have taken in my life. I left each course feeling more confident in my abilities as a student, and as a young adult. Both courses helped me realize that I have the capabilities to achieve anything I put my mind to, and that it is okay to not be good at something I am doing for the first time. The skills I learned in those classes are helping me now as I navigate traveling the world solo as a woman of color.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

I am currently traveling the world as a Thomas J. Watson Fellow for the next year, June 2022 to June 2023.

 

Kyu-Young "Kevin" Chi, Class of '21

Kevin (Kyu-Young) Chi '21

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: English

Location: Seoul, South Korea

"I realized that there were so many questions I wanted to answer in [biochemistry]: how the molecules in the body interact and make life work, despite all the odds, and how every part of the body holds together through biochemical interactions. Biochemistry is still a field that I find exciting."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

I remember receiving so many comments on my initial thesis draft. I thought that maybe I would not be able to complete the thesis on time. But, looking back, conducting an honors study taught me the arduous work of knowledge synthesis, the importance of staying curious, and an appreciation for prudent mentorship. The high standards of work set for an honors study prepared me to take on any type of work after graduation.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

I have been working in the global public health field since graduation. I worked for a year as a research assistant at an inter-governmental organization based in South Korea, whose work focuses on developing and allowing equitable access to vaccines. I got to contribute to studies evaluating COVID-19 vaccines and a study collecting antimicrobial resistance data in low- and middle-income countries. Now, I am working as a research assistant at a Boston-based research group, evaluating the cost-effectiveness of HIV-related health practices and policies.

Why biochemistry?

After taking Organic Chemistry in my first year, I was driven by curiosity to focus my studies on biochemistry. I realized that there were so many questions I wanted to answer in this discipline: how the molecules in the body interact and make life work, despite all the odds, and how every part of the body holds together through biochemical interactions. Biochemistry is still a field that I find exciting.

Zoe Dietrich, Class of '21

Zoe Dietrich '21

Majors: Biochemistry and Earth and Oceanographic Science

Location: Falmouth, MA

"I chose to study biochemistry because I am fascinated by how microbes and their cellular functions control large-scale chemical cycling in the Earth system."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

My most memorable experience with the biochemistry program has to be my first research experience, in Anne McBride's group, where I learned how to design and conduct novel experiments for the first time and dove into the fascinating and beautiful world of microscopy. I will note that Bruce Kohorn's Cell Biology exams were also a particularly challenging and engaging highlight of the program.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

After graduating from Bowdoin, I moved to the UK and completed a research-based MPhil degree in Earth Sciences at the University of Cambridge on a Churchill Scholarship. My research used geochemistry, including stable carbon and sulfur isotopes, to address how sea level rise may impact estuarine methane production and consumption. I am now employed at the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Falmouth, MA, where I am building and programing a novel aquatic methane sensor to deploy in the Arctic and Amazon later this year.

Why biochemistry?

I chose to study biochemistry because I am fascinated by how microbes and their cellular functions control large-scale chemical cycling in the Earth system.

Alicia Edwards, Class of '21

Alicia Edwards '21

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Dance

Location: Boston, MA

"I really wanted to get a holistic education of the sciences that I would need to know before entering the medical field."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

The flexibility of the biochemistry department to pursue my academic interests! Although I was a Biochemistry major, I had an interest in Neuroscience, so I was able to pursue and obtain my Honors these in the Horch lab investigating biochemical pathways.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

I have been working as a life sciences consultant in Boston, but I plan to apply to medical school next year! I am taking the next few months to study for the MCAT and have also been volunteering at Tufts Medical Center, dancing with a local dance collective / ensemble, and will be racing a Alumni boat in the Head of the Charles Regatta in October!

Why biochemistry?

I really wanted to get a holistic education of the sciences that I would need to know before entering the medical field. Additionally, I was able to have more of either a Biological or Chemical focus, and was able to tailor my courses towards more upper-level Chemistry courses and seminars.

Sheikh Omar Kunjo Class of '21

Sheikh Omar Kunjo '21

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: English

Location: Everett, WA

"Biochemistry allowed for an in depth look at biological systems at the molecular level. Thus, it provides a good lens for the analysis of mechanisms behind pathogenesis (which I find fascinating)."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

For my Chemical Biology senior seminar, one of the assignments involved making a 10 minute video-review of a paper describing a gene-editing strategy. I had a lot of fun exercising my creativity while making the video — incorporating humor wherever I could.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

I've been conducting research at in a relatively new basic sciences lab which focuses on proteostasis. The lab relies on C. elegans genetics to illuminate the different ways cells/tissues deal with aberrant proteins.

Why biochemistry?

Biochemistry allowed for an in depth look at biological systems at the molecular level. Thus, it provides a good lens for the analysis of mechanisms behind pathogenesis (which I find fascinating).

Brendan Pulsifer, Class of '20

Brendan Pulsifer '20

Major(s): Biochemistry

Location: Atlanta, GA

"By helping me design, carry out, and evaluate a project with unique relevance to my biochemical coursework and to the field of clinical immunology, Prof. Dube took my love of science to another level."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

Completing an Honors project with Prof. Danielle Dube was the most formative educational experience I had at Bowdoin. By helping me design, carry out, and evaluate a project with unique relevance to my biochemical coursework and to the field of clinical immunology, Prof. Dube took my love of science to another level.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

For two years, I completed an AmeriCorps fellowship at a federally qualified health center called Whitman-Walker Health in Washington, DC. As a community health worker, I was able to take on a number of roles, like performing HIV/STI testing and counseling, assisting COVID-19 testing and vaccination, and leading community outreach efforts. Now, I'm a medical student at Emory University, where I'm getting involved in research at the intersection of biochemistry and public health and getting clinical exposure at Grady Memorial Hospital, the largest public hospital in the Southeast.

Why biochemistry?

When I was in elementary school, my grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and shortly after moved in with me and my parents. As I watched her decline from the progressive neurodegenerative disease, I kept asking - why, and how? I quickly realized during my first year at Bowdoin that, by applying fundamental chemical principles to complex biological systems, biochemistry can best answer those sorts of questions. Additionally, the faculty of the Biochemistry program at Bowdoin were so engaging and friendly that it was easy for me to keep taking classes in the discipline.

Alumni profile of Jared Feldman, Class of 2016

Jared Feldman '16

Major: Biochemistry

Location: Cambridge, MA

"In the absence of graduate students and postdocs, we were the intellectual and physical drivers of our work; it really set up me for success in my industrial research and graduate school!"

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

The most enriching part of my Bowdoin experience was my research in Danielle Dube’s lab over summers and as an independent study/honors project. In the absence of graduate students and postdocs, we were the intellectual and physical drivers of our work; it really set up me for success in my industrial research and graduate school!

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

After graduating, I moved to Hanover, New Hampshire, where I worked for two years as a pre-doctoral researcher at an antibody discovery company, called Adimab. From there, I enrolled in the Virology PhD Program at Harvard University, where I work in Aaron Schmidt’s lab. Our group studies the way that B cells recognize and co-evolve with viral pathogens. We leverage patterns that emerge from these studies to design next generation immunogens and antivirals.

Why biochemistry?

I stepped onto Bowdoin’s campus my first year with the intention of becoming a biochemistry major. I had some early exposure before Bowdoin and knew that this was something that I really enjoyed, but I intentionally broadened the scope of the classes that I took during my first year. I was quickly reminded, based on mechanism-focused courses, the interactions that I had with faculty, and the ability to get my hands wet in the lab, why my original intention was to study biochemistry.

Jacob Muscato Class of 2016

Jacob Muscato '16

Major: Biochemistry

Location: Brunswick, ME

"Biochemistry can explain so much of what we see in the natural world, from how organisms grow and develop to why pathogens cause disease (and how to combat them) and much much more. I chose to study biochemistry because it is the basis on which all life is built and can be used to ask and answer so many fascinating questions."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

Chemical biology with Danielle Dube and Honors in the Dube Lab

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

After graduating from Bowdoin, I enrolled in the Chemical Biology PhD program at Harvard University. There, I worked in Suzanne Walker's lab studying antibiotic resistance and developing strategies to discover new antibiotics. A couple of days after I defended my thesis, I saw a job listing for a visiting assistant professor position in Bowdoin's biology department and simply had to apply. I was fortunate enough to get the job and started teaching at the college in the fall of 2022.

Why biochemistry?

I came to Bowdoin thinking I'd pursue a biochemistry major, and while I loved so many of the courses I took outside of the biology and chemistry departments, nothing overtook my love for biochemistry. Biochemistry can explain so much of what we see in the natural world, from how organisms grow and develop to why pathogens cause disease (and how to combat them) and much much more. I chose to study biochemistry because it is the basis on which all life is built and can be used to ask and answer so many fascinating questions.

Ivan Zhang, Class of '11

Ivan Zhang '11

Major: Biochemistry

Location: Washington D.C.

"I chose to study biochemistry because of my combined, equal passion for both biology and chemistry and the multitude of opportunities that the field offers (healthcare, pharmaceutical industry, research, academics, etc.)."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

I vividly recall the long days and nights spent on my senior honors and post-baccalaureate research project with my advisor, Dr. Gorske and late night problem solving and "life therapy" sessions with Physical Chemistry professor Dr. Steffenson. I value all of the relationships that I've made with my professors and peers, some of whom I still keep in touch with to this day.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

Immediately after graduating from Bowdoin, I worked as a biology/chemistry/algebra teacher at a private independent day school in Washington, D.C. for three years prior to pursuing my Doctorate in Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. I completed my residency in Pediatric Dentistry thereafter and have been working in private practice for the past few years.

Why biochemistry?

I chose to study biochemistry because of my combined, equal passion for both biology and chemistry and the multitude of opportunities that the field offers (healthcare, pharmaceutical industry, research, academics, etc.).

Michael Reutershan, Class of '07

Michael Reutershan '07

Major: Biochemistry

Location: Boston, MA

"While medicinal chemistry requires a strong background in organic chemistry, it is an interdisciplinary science that requires a general understanding of biological concepts. Studying biochemistry at Bowdoin provided an excellent multidisciplinary foundation for my future career as a medicinal chemist."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

Biochemistry with Professor Page. This course opened my eyes to the role chemistry plays in the human body, and combined with organic chemistry, sparked my interest in medicinal chemistry as a career path.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

I moved to Boston to pursue work as a Medicinal Chemist at Merck. In my 14 years at Merck, I worked on a number of targets across functional areas, including immunology, neuroscience, and oncology. Last year, I moved to MOMA Therapeutics, a small biotech company focused on the discovery of novel medicines targeting molecular machines.

Why biochemistry?

I came to Bowdoin with an interest in biology and a plan to study medicine. However, I learned of my passion for chemistry upon taking organic chemistry. While I knew I wanted to focus my studies and lab work in chemistry, I still enjoyed my biology courses and I thought biochemistry would provide a broader depth of understanding in both disciplines. While medicinal chemistry requires a strong background in organic chemistry, it is an interdisciplinary science that requires a general understanding of biological concepts. Studying biochemistry at Bowdoin provided an excellent multidisciplinary foundation for my future career as a medicinal chemist.

Ben Stranges, Class of 2005

Ben Stranges '05

Major: Biochemistry

Location: Boston, MA

"Biochemistry really gets at the core principles behind how life works."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

Bruce Kohorn's Biochemistry 1 class. It really got into the how knowledge is attained and how to make conclusions from data. This is now what I do every day.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

I got a PhD from UNC Chapel Hill in computational protein design, then my postdoc at Harvard Med where I worked on new DNA sequencing tech development. In 2017 I helped start a company around using genomically recoded organisms to make therapeutic proteins with non-standard amino acids.

Why biochemistry?

Biochemistry really gets at the core principles behind how life works.

Elizabeth Holman, Class of '03

Elizabeth Holman '03

Majors: Biochemistry and Education

Location: Winchester, MA

"Biochemistry challenged me and really forced me to figure out how I learned best."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

Biochemistry challenged me and really forced me to figure out how I learned best. In my current field, the volume of information if so overwhelming that if I hadn’t been coached to develop those skills as an undergrad then I could easily have floundered in vet school.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

I taught middle school science for two years before starting at Tufts for Vet School. Upon graduation I completed a rotating internship at Tufts in small animal medicine. I then took a job at Bulger Veterinary Hospital as an associate veterinarian and I’ve been there ever since. I perform surgeries and dental procedures and I'm part of the generalpPractice team. Four years ago I designed and helped start our own rotating internship program, which is now in its third year. As intern director I coach and teach our newest doctors as they enter the field of veterinary medicine.

Why biochemistry?

I liked the challenge and the logic. I felt that it was a great stepping stone towards medicine. And I loved Ron Christensen and Rick Broene!

Sara Michelmore, Class of '95

Sara Michelmore '95

Major: Biochemistry

Location: Westwood, MA

"When I was in high school I read something about gene editing, and thought to myself, "this is the future." I was fascinated not only by the "how" and opportunity to impact human health in a positive way, but also all of the ethical implications it raised."

What was your most memorable biochemistry experience?

I very much enjoyed my coursework in Immunology with Dr. Settlemire; it was a quickly evolving field at the time, and I have really enjoyed following the scientific advances and amazing real world breakthroughs and applications that were a direct result of the research going on at that time.

What have you been up to since graduating from Bowdoin?

Ironically, I decided did not have the patience for lab work or the desire to continue my academic career after Bowdoin. I wanted to stay in and around the life sciences, so I initially joined a market research and consulting group focused on the medical laboratory diagnostics industry, then moved briefly to biotech communications, and then headed to Wall Street where I had a nearly 15 year career as a sellside analyst covering a broad range of medical technology, pharmaceutical, life science tools, and diagnostic companies and technologies. Since then I have focused on consulting and advising companies and executives in the life sciences on business strategies, capital formation, investor relations and external communications. I get to work with some very brilliant scientists turned executives, and help them move their businesses forward and "explain" them to the outside world. It's been fun.

Why biochemistry?

When I was in high school I read something about gene editing, and thought to myself, "this is the future." I was fascinated not only by the "how" and opportunity to impact human health in a positive way, but also all of the ethical implications it raised. At that time, that field sat somewhere between biology and chemistry. I came to Bowdoin, looked at the courses and requirement for the major and loved that I could take a lot of "Bio" and "Chem" and then take these interesting courses that were in the Biochemistry curriculum that were covering some of the exciting, emerging technology and human health areas that really captured my interest at the time (and continue to do so!)