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Adam J. Lowe of Salisbury, Md., obtained a Ph.D. in microbiology
Why did you choose Cornell?
It was the only place where I felt I could do interdisciplinary and applied research. Cornell really encourages its graduate students to reach out across campus and form good working relationships. I've been lucky enough to work with mechanical engineering and the business school extensively, and it has really added to my graduate education.
Did any of your beliefs or interests change during your time at Cornell?
My political beliefs solidified here. While much of the campus maintains a liberal viewpoint, I found myself in agreement with Libertarian ideals. This led to many interesting debates on how graduate student activity fees should be spent.
What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Next year, I will be working at SRC in Syracuse as a principal research scientist leading their biotechnology advanced technologies initiative. In 10 years I still hope to be in a scientific leadership position with in MBA.
Why is your research area important/why are you passionate about it?
It's important because it 'does something.' I am passionate about any research that improves upon important processes, treats or cures a malady, or makes life better for people at large.
While at Cornell, what extracurricular activities or other accomplishments were important to you or you are most proud of?
I was proud to be selected a Presidential Life Sciences fellow. This program enabled me to rotate on any lab on campus, regardless of the department. I was also proud of winning a Nanobiotechnology Center Integrated Research Fellowship based on my research. Work that stemmed from this grant was ultimately patented. Finally, I am very proud of working as the chair of the Cornell BR Ventures Technical Advisory Board. BR Ventures is a student-run venture capital fund in the Johnson School that invests in Cornell and local startups. The technical advisory board provides scientific and engineering expertise for the due diligence process.
Do you have an unusual background in some way that has influenced your scholarship?
I grew up in a rural, small town on the eastern shore of Maryland. I feel this gave me a different perspective than many others here. I am also the first in my immediate family to obtain a college degree.
What does your dissertation or thesis cover?
My thesis research focused on developing functional bionanotechnology. I developed and patented a system that detects single base changes in DNA (single nucleotide polymorphisms - SNPs). SNPs are one of the key diagnostic markers for genetic disease and cancer progression. The platform is advantageous over current technology because it can detect many SNPs from a single sample. I have also worked on nanoparticle-based biosensors to detect pesticides as well as a selective protein labeling system. As facility manager for the Cornell-Cancer Research Institute's Bioproduction Facility, I helped develop bacterial strains expressing cancer antigens for use in cancer vaccine clinical trials. Using the newly developed process, we produced enough protein for use in phase one clinical trials. We had to adhere to strict FDA standards for clinical products, including exhaustive quality control and testing. While at Cornell I was able to participate in producing the proteins three proteins for use in cancer vaccines.