UNMC News

INBRE scholars: Meet David Francis

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David Francis
Twenty-two undergraduate students are spending the summer at UNMC doing research.

They are called INBRE scholars and are part of the largest grant in UNMC history.

Today we feature David Francis, a senior majoring in chemical engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Tell me about yourself. Who are your heroes?
I enjoy going out with friends, playing golf, going for runs and just being outside when I'm not at the lab.

What are your career goals?
I hope to attend graduate school, preferably on the east or west coast, for chemical engineering and then possibly be a professor or go into industry.

How did you become interested in science?
I have always been interested in science growing up. I like to solve problems with rationality and logic, but also be creative and think outside the box which chemical engineering has allowed me to do. Movies, books and school have all helped me become more interested in science as well.

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What do you hope the INBRE program will do for you?
I hope the INBRE program will help me really decide if and what I want to go to graduate school for, or if I want to go more to the industry/engineering side of things.

How do you see science evolving over the next 20 years?
I think the medical field will really see some incredible advancements with genomics and sequencing peoples' DNA in the next few decades. We will have the ability to turn off or on specific genes that code for cancers and diseases as well as intelligence, athletic abilities and how we look. It has many benefits but also will be a very controversial issue.

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The INBRE program

Twenty-two students from 11 different undergraduate and community college programs have joined the Institutional Development Award Program (IDeA) Networks of Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE)/ Biomedical Research Infrastructure Network (BRIN) program. The INBRE/BRIN program is overseen by James Turpen, Ph.D., a professor in UNMC's Department of Genetics, Cell Biology and Anatomy, and principal investigator of the $17.2 million National Institutes of Health grant that supports the program.

Established in 2001, the INBRE program was created to expose students to serious biomedical research, build a statewide biomedical research infrastructure between undergraduate and graduate institutions and to strengthen undergraduate institution's infrastructure and increase its capacity to conduct cutting-edge biomedical and behavioral research.

The students, referred to as INBRE scholars, enter the program after completing their sophomore year of college upon recommendation by their college professors. The students are given a two-year scholarship and spend 10 weeks each summer conducting research on either their home campus or at UNMC, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln or Creighton University.

At the end of the summer the students attend the INBRE annual meeting where they will give an oral presentation.