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Linfield College student first in Oregon to participate in national genomics partnership

Student Matthew Creech ’14 recently attended the Genome Institute to take part in the Genomics Education Partnership (GEP) on behalf of Linfield College.

Creech was the first student in Oregon to participate in the prestigious program.

The institute is housed at Washington University in St. Louis, Mo., and the partnership provides opportunities for undergraduate students to engage in genomics research. Creech received a firsthand introduction to the field from geneticists and molecular biologists who worked on the groundbreaking Human Genome Project.

The Linfield biology major began doing research as a freshman and has since served as president of the Linfield College Biology Club. Creech is also a member of the school’s pre-med student club. He will graduate in 2014 and hopes to become a neurosurgeon.

“My parents gave me a chemistry set when I was nine,” Creech says, “and I watched every NOVA science program I could. I have always been curious about science.

“I’ve been able to travel all over the U.S. for professional conferences,” he says. “It’s been wonderful. You put in the time and effort, and your professors give it back.”

In preparation for a career in neurosurgery, Creech is getting his foot in the door with volunteer stints at the local hospital, where he assists doctors and nurses with preparation for surgery, works in the emergency room, and interacts with patients.

Creech is mentored by biology Professor Catherine Reinke, who recently helped Linfield College secure a $223,182 grant from the National Science Foundation to enhance the school’s Department of Biology facilities and Linfield’s Faculty-Student Collaborative Research Program. Creech also works as a marine ecology research assistant on the Oregon coast with Professor Jeremy Weisz.

Linfield College students across the scientific disciplines conduct research in partnership with faculty, generate publishable data and present their findings at national conferences. Many co-author papers with professors.

About 40 percent of Linfield biology graduates in the past five years have gone on to graduate school or professional programs.

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