Miranda Machacek, Ph.D.
I grew up in Richfield, Minnesota, a mere five minute drive from the Mall of America, which-as my sisters can attest-did nothing to improve my fashion sense. After high school, I headed east to attend Boston University and graduated with a degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 2009. I got my first taste of research my senior year working in the lab of Dr. Pinghua Liu. My project involved the purification and enrichment of isoprenoids, an incredibly diverse family of compounds found in minute quantities in nature with many potential therapeutic benefits. I became hooked on the rush of achieving even a small victory in the lab amongst all the failures inherent to research. I knew research was in my future but couldn't shake my lingering fascination with medical school. Being infamously indecisive and as yet unaware of the MD/PhD dual degree, I pursued neither graduate school nor medical school immediately after graduating from BU. I moved back to Minnesota and worked for three years in the glycobiology department at a biotech company purifying proteins and developing enzyme activity assays. This was a greatly enriching time for me as work sharpened my lab technique and critical thinking skills, and I was able to pursue other interests, including volunteering at a hospital, tutoring children from homeless families, and diving into the sport of triathlon. Most of all, I realized my passion to continually be learning something new and helping others. The MD/PhD program is the perfect fit and I'm grateful to be a part of the program here at KUMC. Special shout out to my family, friends, teachers, and mentors whom I am indebted to for their encouragement and words of wisdom over the years. Thanks for sticking with me on this journey.
Currently, I'm entering my final year in the program and will be pursuing a residency in pathology, where I hope to acquire the skills to be an excellent pathologist and continue to stay involved in my research interests of metabolism and immunology. I completed my PhD in 2018 under the dual mentorship of Dr. Pat Fields and Dr. Chad Slawson. My dissertation focused on how O-GlcNAc, a post-translational protein modification and nutrient sensor, affects inflammatory T cell function particularly in obesity and diabetes. I'm happy to field any questions!
Mentors: Chad Slawson, Ph.D.,; Patrick Fields, Ph.D.