Michael graduated cum laude from Portland State University with a degree in biology and a minor in chemistry in June 2014.
Michael’s degree primarily focuses on human biology and biochemistry. He has excelled in numerous courses such as anatomy, physiology, analytical chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, evolution, molecular biology, and cellular biology. For his capstone project he designed a laboratory exercise for the university’s introductory physics course to model a person’s walking gait as a sinusoidal function using Vernier software.
While at PSU, Michael engaged in a number of scholarly and philanthropic activities. From day one of college he was already donating his time to Providence Willamette Falls Medical Center (then Willamette Falls Hospital) where he worked in a number of departments including the outpatient surgical floor and the emergency room.
In addition to working at Providence Willamette Falls, he remained committed to teaching. He was selected to be an organic chemistry workshop leader during the 2012/2013 school year. Each week he would manage a group of students enrolled in the year long organic chemistry sequence and guide a group of around ten students through a series of practice problems during a three-hour long workshop session.
While studying biology, Michael was able to witness the practical applications in clinical settings. He would go on to spend a year working for the Outside In, a clinic for low income and homeless patients in the Portland Metropolitan area. He contributed to the mobile patient unit; a moveable clinic based out of an RV. He also got to witness how technology could be applied in healthcare through the laser removal of tattoos. Throughout the ladder half of his degree he also spent extensive time shadowing physicians, both in the clinic and the operating room.
During his senior year at Portland State, Michael also conducted benchwork research with the Courcelle laboratory in molecular biology. The project involved creating a modified protein in a genetically engineered strain e. coli bacteria. The protein had a “tag” added to it so that it would be able to be recognized by the cell under certain conditions. Whenever the cell was exposed to lactose sugar the cell would destroy the modified protein.
Michael remains passionate about biology and is excited to share his knowledge with others and apply it to new projects whenever the opportunity presents itself.