Make The Connection

August 9, 2019 | By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan student Ben Arnold (left) celebrates the presentation of his summer research project. Arnold worked at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus in the laboratory of Raphael Nemenoff, Ph.D. (Photo courtesy of Ben Arnold)

Enlightening Research

Studying Cancer Helps Ohio Wesleyan Student Map Out His Physician Future

Ben Arnold ’20
Hometown: Tiffin, Ohio
Major: Neuroscience and Pre-Medicine
Minors: Biology, Chemistry, and Psychology
OWU Connection experience: Cancer Summer Research Fellowship in the Department of Medicine at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Arnold earned an OWU Connection grant to support his medical research fellowship, which studied how to make drug treatment more effective for non-small cell lung cancers. He concluded his summer with a presentation of his work, “Coupled IFNγ and epigenetic treatment may increase K-Ras mutant NSCLC patient sensitivity to immunotherapy.”

“Ultimately,” Arnold says, “OWU funded an experience that will inevitably enhance my probability of acceptance into medical school immediately following graduation.”

Translating Theory into Practice

“The lab I worked in not only gave me the ability to apply techniques learned in OWU’s classrooms – such as Western blotting, qRT-PCR (quantitative polymerase chain reaction), and flow cytometry – to my research on non-small cell lung cancer treatment, but also the opportunity of working on a large interdisciplinary team of M.D.s, Ph.D.s, graduate students, and more.

“Additionally, this fellowship has resulted in developing my maturity and sense of independence, as I was required to operate on a tight budget, cook for myself, and manage my time working full-time and studying for the MCAT and applying to medical schools as a part-time job equivalent commitment. …”

Expanding Horizons

“[T]his fellowship has taught me what I’m looking for in my career. Coming from a small town in Ohio, then sticking to what was familiar by choosing OWU, I never thought I’d leave Ohio or enter a big city for my career. …

“My small-town roots will always be a part of who I am, but I wouldn’t want to pass up the opportunities provided by a large institution in an urban setting. … Had I not taken the leap of faith in accepting this fellowship position, I would have never realized this; this experience has molded me into a more well-rounded medical school applicant and diversified my portfolio as an undergraduate student. …”

Choosing the Right Path

“Of the nearly 40 summer research programs I applied to earlier this spring, only a handful were cancer fellowships. The only reason I even applied to a handful at all was because oncology sparked my interest after reading Paul Kalanithi’s ‘When Breath Becomes Air,’ where he writes a compassionate autobiography of his battle with cancer and embracing death.

“From this program, I feel even more solidified in pursuing oncology, but have realized from the M.D./Ph.D.s I’ve met that having cancer research is an excellent escape from the trauma and emotional drain that working with cancer patients entails. …”

My Plans after Graduation

“I’m so grateful to the OWU community for their continued support in my education and the pursuit of my dreams. … At this point in time, I have submitted the primary application to 12 M.D. programs and 8 D.O. programs and have thus far received and completed four secondary applications. … I’m eager to hear back from all the schools and decide which I will attend.”