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Akosuah Agyei
School of Arts & Sciences
Class of 2012
Pre-Med Honors Student
Major: Chemistry/Biology
Home Country: Ghana

I had the opportunity to talk to people who are researchers, medical doctors, and both. From the conversations I had with the people in these professions, I realized that I can become both a doctor and a researcher. Meanwhile, the more I did cutting-edge research the more I wanted to become a researcher. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in this internship because it gave me a window into my future career.
Akosuah Agyei, Class of 2012, was born in Ghana. She is a pre-med honors student and double majors in chemistry and biology.
   
She was privileged to be selected from a pool of more than 500 applicants as one of 57 to participate in a summer internship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AECOM).  She was accepted to the program after Dr. Elvira Longordo, Akos’ academic advisor and Assistant Professor of Chemistry, invited the Dean of Admissions at AECOM to speak to CNR pre-med students about the admissions process for medical school. The Dean was so impressed with Akos, she invited her and three other students to Global Health Night at AECOM, after which Dr. Longordo encouraged Akos to apply for their summer internship.
   
For her internship assignment, Akos was further privileged to work in the laboratory of Dr. Susan B. Horwitz, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Molecular Pharmacology.  Dr. Horwitz, the Rose C. Fankelstein Chair in Cancer research, discovered the mechanism of interference by Taxol (generic name paclitaxel), a natural product from the Pacific Yew tree, in suppressing the reproduction of cancer cells.  Since this finding, Taxol and other drugs modeled on its chemical structure have become a new chemotherapeutic weapon in the treatment of breast, lung, and ovarian cancers.  Because some breast cancers have exhibited resistance to Taxol, Dr. Horwitz has more recently focused her research on understanding the mechanism of this resistance at the biochemical and cellular levels. 
   
In her summer research, Akos was involved in a project where she studied the correlation between intrinsic differentiation status and biochemical characteristics of senescence (proliferative arrest) in four types of in vitro breast cancer cell lines treated with Taxol.  In the attached photo, Akos with Dr. Horwitz and Dr. Lingling Liu, one of Akos' mentors in Dr. Horwitz's laboratory, are shown in front of the poster which Akos presented at AECOM on August 5, 2010, at the conclusion of her summer internship.  Dr. Horwitz was significantly impressed with Akos' work and has invited Akos to continue interning in her laboratory for one day per week during the academic year 2010-11.
   
“During this internship,” Akosuah said, “I had the opportunity to talk to people who are researchers, medical doctors, and both. From the conversations I had with the people in these professions, I realized that I can become both a doctor and a researcher. Meanwhile, the more I did cutting-edge research the more I wanted to become a researcher. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to participate in this internship because it gave me a window into my future career.”
   
Akos hopes to enroll in an MD, PhD combined program after she graduates.