INDIANAPOLIS—John Wells, a Purdue School of Science alum, who received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry: Biochemistry Option in 2016, is currently pursuing his dual MD/PhD through the Medical Scientist Training Program at the IU School of Medicine.
John didn’t always know he wanted to be a physician and a scientist. Both were options for him, along with engineering. Check out the interview with John on why he decided to go for the dual MD/PhD and how the School of Science helped prepare him for the path he’s on now.
Description of the video:When I first was looking to colleges, in general, I was considering, I wasn't sure, I was considering engineering, being a scientist, or being a physician, So I thought that I-U-P-U-I, in general, would be able to provide me all the opportunities to explore all those different career paths. And during my first year, I was deciding between biology and chemistry and ultimately decided between doing a biological chemistry degree at the IUPUI school of science. The school science prepared me in a variety of different ways. So for one, was the coursework obviously so for example my biochemistry classes and my medicinal chemistry classes were more rigorous coursework than the same topics that were covered in medical school so I was very prepared for those classes. Of course, it also prepared me for research opportunities especially the life Health Science internship program so that was my first real experience getting my hands dirty in a wet lab and doing actual scientific research. And it also prepared me with various leadership opportunities. So, I was a TA for a variety of courses, the chemistry, general chemistry one general chemistry two, and for organic chemistry lab so I got to have leadership experiences that I may not be able to get from other universities. Yeah I'm in the Indiana University School of medicine medical scientist training program so I'm going to obtain an MD and the PhD and the reason why I decided to do that was based off of meticulous reflections I've had people in academia and industry to decide on my career path that I'm on now, and ultimately I decided that I wanted to be a physician because as a physician you could make an impact on people's lives individually and as a scientist, you have the added benefit of making an impact on lives collectively. By that, I mean the research that you produce can help make new treatments for the population as a whole. I wouldn't let anyone tell you that you can't do something.
John has this piece of advice for all students.
“Networking is very important. It is something that I struggled with in college. I can draw on a piece of paper all the people that helped me get to where I am today, one being connected to another. The dean of science helped me get into my first research lab. My first research lab helped me get into my summer program, my first summer program helped me get into a different summer program. Finally that second summer program helped me get into the IUSM MD/PhD program that I’m currently in,” said Wells.
Check out this bonus video explaining the current research he’s working on.
Description of the video:I work in the Wells Center for Pediatric Research. I'm currently in, just finished my second year of my PhD and I'm studying cardiovascular genetics with Doctor Stephanie Ware in particular what we're interested in is in disorder called heterotaxy. So heterotaxy is where your primary organs develop incorrectly due to abnormal left-right patterning, so the left side of my body is different than the right side of my body so the organs in there incorrect from heterotaxy. For example, one common people might have is called sinus inversus where it's all your organs are exactly flip-flopped so all the plumbing is there it's just putting backward but you could have for example left atrial syndrome, for some reason where the left side of your body is duplicated so you have two left lungs you have to left Atria you have a display this ordinary on the left so you have an additional split on their other side you could have right a choice of whether right-sided duplicated you could have sinus ambiguous where it's just randomized. So we're trying to understand the genetic causes of heterotaxy.