A Big Welcome to the Incoming 2015 MD/PhD Class

Above: Incoming MD/ PhD candidates at their white coat ceremony. July 31, 2015.

From Left to Right: Brandon Farmer, Charles Coomer, Laura Krueger, Ryan Cloyd, Leon Su

The University of Kentucky College of Medicine welcomed its 137 new students at Friday's White Coat Ceremony. Amongst the newly minted medical students were our five MD/PhD candidates. We wish them and their classmates the best as they begin their medical training!

UK KNOW: College of Medicine Welcomes New Students with White Coats

More about our incoming class of MD/PhD candidates:

Charles Coomer

I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, and graduated from the Honors College at Western Kentucky University (WKU) in 2014 with degrees in biology and chemistry and a minor in music. Whilst studying at WKU, I investigated the utility of bacterial viruses as a sustainable alternative to antibiotic treatment in the biofuel industry-a project that triggered my interests in basic science research. Desiring to focus my research in a medically-relevant field, I completed an internship and fellowship at the National Cancer Institute, addressing questions regarding HIV persistence and drug resistance. Following my undergraduate education, I pursued an MSc in Infection and Immunity at University College London as a Fulbright scholar, expanding my research interests to emerging infectious diseases, particularly how proteins of negative-sense, single-stranded RNA viruses modulate the cell-intrinsic immune response. Outside of the classroom and laboratory I enjoy marathon-running, ultimate Frisbee, and performing chamber music as a violinist. The rapid expansion of University of Kentucky's research facilities, the warmhearted faculty and students, and the blooming emphasis placed on emerging infectious diseases in the Molecular & Cellular Biochemistry department.

 Ryan Cloyd

I'm from Indianapolis. I did my undergrad at Wabash College with a major in biochemistry. I'm interested in studying neurodegeneration and spent the summer rotating in Jose Abisambra's lab. I chose UK because of the overall collaborative nature and positive environment.

 Brandon Farmer

I am a Kentucky native, raised on a farm just outside of Lexington. I attended the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science at Western Kentucky University my junior and senior year of high school, and then elected to continue my undergraduate coursework at WKU. I developed a passion for research and travel at WKU, where I studied abroad in Costa Rica, Mexico, and Kenya. I completed an honors thesis on corneal endothelial cell proliferation. I graduated in May 2015 with a BS in Biology, a BS in Chemistry, and a minor in Spanish. Outside of school, I enjoy spending time with my yellow lab Stella, running, and playing tennis. I chose UK for MD/PhD training because of the comfortable program size, the genuinely happy students and personable faculty, and the accessible high-caliber research being conducted. 

 Laura Krueger

I am from Cincinnati, Ohio and graduated from Miami University where I studied Biochemistry and Mathematics. I was also a member of the varsity swim team. During the past two years, I worked at Cincinnati Children's Hospital investigating genetic eye disorders. I enjoy spending time with my family, cooking, and playing and watching sports. I chose to attend UK because of the how welcoming and friendly everyone was when I visited. For my graduate studies I wanted a supportive and stable environment and the UK MD/PhD program was the perfect fit. 

 Leon Su

I grew up in Carmel, IN and studied mathematics at Wheaton College in Wheaton, IL. During my undergraduate years I participated in various projects involving biostatistics research. For quite a few years now, my biggest academic interests have been math and medicine. Biostatistics is where these two fields meet, and I hope to be able to pursue both biostatistics and medicine of these in Kentucky's MD/PhD program. I chose Kentucky because they were one of the few programs I found that was willing to explore the possibility of having an MD/PhD candidate in biostatistics. I also found that the faculty and students that I met during my interview were very warm and welcoming. Several of the people I talked to during my interview shared my enthusiasm for biostatistics, which helped me to see the strong support and resources I would have at UK.