The Honors Community
- Herndon, Va.
- Biology with a concentration in pre-medicine
Karen Shou arrived at Virginia Commonwealth University with experience that only top-notch researchers can claim.
Shou, an honors student majoring in biology with a concentration in pre-medicine, spent the last two summers conducting medical research with the National Institutes of Health as part of its Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research for high school students age 16 years or older, as well as undergraduate, graduate or professional students.
“It has opened up a whole new world of research,” she said.
At the conclusion of her second summer, her NIH mentor suggested that she continue her project throughout the academic year. Shou quickly signed up for VCU’s independent research course and has since been investigating the migration of breast cancer cells co-cultured with different fibroblast genotypes to determine how the presence of different fibroblasts affects cancer cell migration.
She is currently in the computer analysis phase of the project and, in addition to her resources from the NIH, receives hands-on guidance from Lynne Elmore, Ph.D., assistant professor in VCU’s Department of Pathology.
“It gives me lots of great lab experience,” she said. “I also get to know how the research process works from the start of just presenting the idea or hypothesis to actually implementing it.”
Shou plans to attend medical school and to study oncology, neurology or psychiatry. She said she has found the support of VCU faculty extends beyond the lab. In particular, attending forums hosted by the Pre-Med Society is already helping to prepare her for the process of applying to medical school.
“When I was looking at schools, I was comparing pre-med programs and I found that VCU was the most organized, helpful and structured program,” Shou said. “To me, it’s the most beneficial, because I like having an adviser there that cares about your progress.”
“I got to know how the research process works from the start of just presenting the idea or hypothesis to actually implementing it.”