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IUPUI student earns Goldwater Scholarship, summer research position at New York University

May 20, 2014

Opportunity has come knocking this year for award-winning IUPUI student Devin Bready, who just wrapped up his junior year in the School of Science.

Devin Bready

Devin Bready has found a home in IUPUI laboratories. | PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SCHOOL OF SCIENCE

Bready has earned recognition for his academic success, his work as an undergraduate researcher and as a teaching assistant in chemistry and chemical biology. His original IUPUI goal was to become a practicing physician, helping people deal with their medical issues. But his research experiences opened up other possibilities.

“Being around doctors who are involved in translational research has really opened my eyes,” Bready said. Coupled with his interest in science, the laboratory work has helped him realize that he could be both a physician and a scientist.

Bready considers a dual-degree (M.D.-Ph.D.) program a "perfect fit" for his interests. M.D.-Ph.D. graduates often go on to become faculty members at medical schools, universities and research institutes, where their training helps in the quest for National Institutes of Health-supported research funding.

Bready’s pursuit of that career path gained momentum this year, when the Bepko Scholar was one of five IU students to earn a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship award this spring, and he received a summer research opportunity from the New York University Langone Medical Center.

Opportunities like those offer him intriguing professional challenges.

“My overarching goal is to explore infectious or degenerative diseases,” Bready said. “I’ve had family friends who have gone through age-related dementia, and it’s tough on their families. These diseases are not well understood.”

He believes his field will play a pivotal role in the future.

“We’re starting to see the full effect of an aging population,” Bready said. “We really don’t understand the disease progressions, but we’re starting to chip away at the underlying causes.”

The Goldwater honor put Bready in a good position.

“I knew it was a prestigious national honor,” Bready said, and knew he’d gotten strong letters of recommendation. “But frankly, I didn’t know how I’d measure up to other nominees.”

It wasn’t his only recognition. In February, before he heard about the award, Bready was accepted into the New York University program.

“Out of 1,100 or 1,200 applicants, only about 38 get accepted,” he said. “I was excited about that opportunity, so figured I wouldn’t get the Goldwater after that. I mean, what are the odds of lightning striking twice?”

Instead, summer program offers continued to come his way. The Mayo Clinic made an offer, too, though he had to decline it since it conflicted with his New York opportunity.

“It’s been a lot to take in,” he admitted.

IUPUI has been a good fit for Bready since he arrived on campus.

He started in a nephrology lab under researcher and faculty member Simon Atkinson, and noticed that the team was seeing patients who suffered from the diseases the students were studying. “That’s when I started to get excited about going into research,” Bready said.

Bready loves research, but he doesn’t want to abandon the type of clinical care that drew him to medicine in the first place. The IU School of Medicine has a dual-degree program, too, but so do other highly regarded medical schools across the country. “It will come down to which one is the bet fit,” he predicted.

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