I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but attended high school in the Kansas City area and then undergraduate at Baker University in Kansas. I doubled-majored and have degrees in Chemistry and in Spanish.
I remember always wanting to be a physician, but after the first 30 minutes of my first shadowing experience with my mind in anxious mode and the ER crowded, hot, and small, I fainted! Fortunately, the rest of the five and half hours in the ER fully assured me that my decision to become a physician was the right one. I proceeded to have quite varied shadowing experiences over the next three years and each pushed my curiosity about medicine to another level. What I also learned over these experiences is that medicine is an evolving science that continues to be refined.
This dynamic quality of medicine led me to research and a realization that I wanted to include this facet and prevention in my own practice of medicine. During undergraduate years, I worked with researchers in Preventive Medicine and clinical oncology with breast cancer. Extending an interest in the later clinical studies, I entered a cellular biology lab in the Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology, and Therapeutics and investigated aberrant expression of key cell cycle regulatory proteins in premalignant breast lesions using a rat model for breast cancer. I also learned about MD/PhD programs at this time, as a PhD-phase MD/PhD student worked in the same lab. I had found the right combination of research and clinics for my career. Additional research experience in a Chemistry department lab investigating dopamine release and reuptake in a rat model for Huntington's disease only stimulated more my interest in the combined degree program.
The MD/PhD Program at Kansas is challenging but student-friendly and flexible. I enjoyed spending the summer before medical classes started in Dr. Fisher's lab in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and it gave me additional opportunities to learn about other research at KU Medical Center.
Mentor: R. C. Andrew Symons
Bliss O'Bryhim, Ph.D.