Three students from United States military academies have completed biomedical research summer internships at OMRF.
Two students from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., and one from the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo., participated in the foundation’s ninth annual John H. Saxon Service Academy Summer Research Program.
Oklahoma City native and Heritage Hall High School graduate Paige Miles is a midshipman at the U.S. Naval Academy. She worked in the lab of Courtney Griffin, Ph.D., studying blood vessel development.
“Both of my parents are doctors in Oklahoma City, so when I heard about this opportunity I jumped at the chance to not only get experience working in medical research but also to move home for a few weeks,” said Miles. “This has been an unbelievable opportunity, and I am so fortunate have the chance to work with a great scientist like Dr. Griffin.”
Connor King, also a midshipman at the Naval Academy, investigated cell division under the guidance of researcher Roberto Pezza, Ph.D. The Suffolk, Va., native researched a protein involved in DNA recombination and its function in cell development.
“I have a pre-medical focus, and this experience has had a big impact on me because it shows the lifetime of research and work that goes into making each of these discoveries,” said King. “It really changes your perspective on the value of research science.”
Finally, U.S. Air Force Academy cadet Lionel Gumireddy studied the impact of diabetes on the heart with OMRF scientist Kenneth Humphries, Ph.D. Gumireddy worked on an enzyme that has been linked to diabetes.
“I’ve learned even more than I expected, and I have loved every minute of the experience,” said Gumireddy, a Pittsburgh, Pa., native. “I’m trying to be a doctor in the Air Force, and I’m leaning toward critical care transport. This introduction to the research side of medicine has been eye-opening.”
Muskogee physician John Saxon, III, M.D., established the program to honor his late father, a West Point graduate and Air Force pilot.
“This exposure to real-world medical research is invaluable to the students, and it also adds needed help and fresh perspectives in our labs,” said OMRF Senior Human Resources Specialist Heather Hebert, who coordinates the program. “We’re grateful to Dr. Saxon for supporting this unique program.”