Student completes research internship at Penn State

After spending his summer working on federally funded research as part of a prestigious internship program at the Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine, Victor Chan ’17 is back on campus preparing for his next academic adventure.

Victor is one of four Dominican students selected to study at the University of Oxford as part of a new agreement between Dominican and St. Catherine’s College, one of the University of Oxford’s 44 autonomous colleges and permanent private halls. The chemistry major in Dominican's School of Health and Natural Sciences will study inorganic and biological chemistry at Oxford in spring 2016.

Since arriving at Dominican in 2013 from San Francisco’s Lowell High School, Victor has embraced the University’s focus on hands-on learning by taking advantage of all the opportunities that have come his way. Guided by faculty mentors, including Dr. Maria Graciela Carranza, assistant professor of chemistry, Victor immersed himself in scientific research.

“Dominican’s supportive and engaging environment has fostered my growth as not only a scientist but also as a worldly scholar,” Victor said. “I have presented at national conferences, landed prestigious internships, entered honor societies, and met so many amazing people in between and I am delighted to be selected to attend Oxford. Here comes another opportunity to humbly go out and grow as a leader and as a scholar in this amazing world, which wouldn't be possible if not for Dominican.”

These past two summers, Victor was part of a National Institutes of Health funded program called INTREPID (Introduction of a Novel Tiered Research Experience Promoting Inclusion and Diversity) at Penn State. He worked alongside undergraduates from universities across the United States, including Johns Hopkins and several Ivy League schools.

The goal of the program is to provide hands-on research in the context of the foundational missions of the NIH’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. The first year was spent on hands-on laboratory experiences while year two shifted to a more clinical perspective.

Last summer Victor focused on studying hydrogen sulfide and its effect in vivo, in order to find an antidote for sulfide poisoning. This summer he headed his own project in PSU’s Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, developing a new model to test the modalities of free hydrogen sulfide gas with varying media.  Last month he gave an oral presentation about his research at the Hershey Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium.

He felt well prepared for his work at PSU thanks to his experiences at Dominican.

“My professors in Dominican’s Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics work to ensure unique experiences in STEM, including one-on-one research opportunities in the Dominican labs on important fields such as breast cancer research and biofuels,” Victor said. “When combined with a personally tailored academic plan, this gives me the best chance I can have for my future endeavors."

The Thomas and Joanne Peterson Endowed Scholarship for Dominican Scholars at Oxford is made possible by a gift from Marin County residents Thomas and Joanne Peterson.


August 19, 2015