Spotlight on PhD Student: Kathleen Goodmon
PhD Candidate, Molecular & Translational Medicine
What brought you to BU?
I applied to BU because of its unique location in the biomedical hub of Boston. My research background as an undergraduate was rooted in the clinic and my goal as a Ph.D. student was to have my lab bench be as close to clinicians, hospitals and patients as possible, yet still have access to great engineers and chemists. The BU medical campus seemed to have these interdisciplinary networks established and I thought it would be a great match and it really has been. Furthermore, BU felt very student focused and I could see that I would be given the creative freedom to shape my thesis and my experiences here as a student.
What program are you in?
Because I wanted to continue to do research that translated to patient health, I chose to apply to the Molecular and Translational Medicine (MTM) Ph.D. program, which is through the Department of Medicine. MTM is also wonderful in its diversity of research fields. Before I came here I was unsure if I wanted to continue work in nutrition and metabolism or jump into infectious diseases and being an MTM student allowed me the flexibility to make that decision during my first year.
What kind of research are you involved in?
My research is within the field of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). I find research within this field to be incredibly important because STIs affect female reproductive health particularly in underprivileged communities. To better understand how the female reproductive tract responds to infections, I study epithelial cell biology in response to Neisseria gonorrhoeae. I am primarily interested in cell to cell communication and how N. gonorrhoeae may influence these communication lines to alter cell death and inflammation in neighboring cells.
What do you hope to do after you earn your degree?
After my degree I plan to find a great postdoctoral fellowship! As for the distant future, I hope to continue to research in infectious diseases and have a greater role in science policy at the NIH or CDC.
You were elected as the new GMSSO President.
I love all the community service we do with the Blood Drives and Rosie’s Place and the VA. I also really enjoy working and planning with students outside my program that I would not normally see. It’s a community for me. As president specifically, I have the unique opportunity to work with GMS faculty and that has been really neat and insightful too. Running GMSSO is hard work and pulls me in several directions but I find it to be an outlet for me. It helps me keep momentum even when lab life is hard and frustrating.
Are you involved in many activities on campus?
I have been a TA for FBS module IV for two years and a peer mentor for our first year PiBS students. I try to participate in art events here on campus and I am also a liaison for sustainability @ BU.
What is your favorite part of your life as a student?
Community! And wondering where in the world we will be in 10 years.
What do you enjoy doing outside of BU?
I love new adventures and new hobbies and I am therefore very mediocre at many things. But I always have running and cooking and music in my life. I have wonderful people too.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Do not take graduate school personally. It is supposed to push you beyond your comfort and make you question yourself and your abilities. It is part of the process to become great.