Congratulations to Worlds Ahead Graduates

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Jeevan GC
Ph.D. in Physics
School of Integrated Science and Humanity
College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Jeevan GC grew up in rural Nepal where basic infrastructure, including electricity and transportation, was lacking. Agriculture was his family’s primary source of income. With no modern distractions, Jeevan developed a deep attachment to nature, often wondering how it all worked. His father, wanting to foster Jeevan’s curiosity, enrolled him in an English school not far from their village.

As he progressed in his studies, he came to appreciate that physics holds the key to understanding nature. He enrolled in the biophysics program at a university in Nepal. One day, he attended a seminar by a guest speaker — Prem Chapagain, an associate professor of physics at FIU. Jeevan decided then that he wanted to pursue a Ph.D. at FIU and study how proteins, DNA and other biomolecules function.

At FIU, Jeevan worked with a class of proteins called transformer proteins. Meanwhile, a world away, West Africa was battling the worst Ebola outbreak in history. Jeevan’s ever-growing curiosity got him thinking — what if the Ebola virus depends on a transformer protein to function? And if it does, could he find a weak spot to target and destroy the virus? Working with Chapagain and physics chairman Bernard Gerstman, Jeevan found answers to both questions. Yes it does and yes he could. Today, his research could lead to improved disinfectants for the Ebola virus.

Jeevan has accepted a research position at Washington State University where he will focus on designing new drugs to fight cancer.

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Brian Ho
Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences
School of Environment, Arts and Society
College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Brian Ho has had a passion for science since he was a young boy growing up in Antigua. He naturally gravitated toward biology in high school. When the time came to apply for college, he recalled a degree hanging on the wall in his doctor’s office. It was from FIU. With family in Miami, he decided to apply.

Brian is part of FIU’s Quantifying Biology In the Classroom (QBIC), a program for students wanting a more in-depth approach to studying biology, and the Minority Access to Research Careers Undergraduate Student Training for Academic Research (MARC U*STAR), a program that provides funding for students doing research. He was a research assistant in the lab of Alexander Agoulnik, professor in the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, studying the hormone Relaxin and whether it can be used as a possible cancer treatment. He studied protein response in yeast at University of California San Francisco through the Exceptional Research Opportunities Program (EXROP), a national program offering research opportunities to undergraduates at Howard Hughes Medical Institute labs. Brian also did research on E. coli at Columbia University through the Amgen Scholars program.

After graduating, Brian will study host-pathogen dynamics as a paid researcher with the National Institutes of Health. He also plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in biochemistry. His goal is to become a university professor so he can teach, conduct research and mentor the next generation of scientists. He wants to help them discover their passions, just how his mentors did for him.

For a full list of Worlds Ahead Graduates click here