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COSAM Sophomore Focuses on Cancer Research

Published: 10/29/2019

By: Carla Nelson

Auburn University sophomore Madeline Matheson originally to attend school at Auburn for the engineering program, but soon found her passion in the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM).

Originally from Memphis, Tenn., Madeline said she fell in love with Auburn after visiting the campus during high school.

“I told one of the campus tour guides that I was interested in cancer research and she emailed me a few weeks later with the email of one of the professors,” she remembered. “He called me and we talked about research … that extra mile really made it feel special.”

Madeline said she felt like her original choice to study chemical engineering didn’t fit her desire to pursue health care, so she switched her major to molecular biology during her freshman year. She now hopes to one day have a career as a pharmacist. During her time at Auburn, she has also focused on pursuing her interest in cancer research.

She recently spent the summer completing an internship at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. She gained research experience in a molecular biology lab focusing on mitochondria.

“We ran different tests on the respiration rate and the morphology of it,” she said. “We also got to use really, really cool microscopes.”

She currently is involved with cancer research at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is working with Dr. Bruce Smith comparing human and K9 cancer.

“We’re trying to synthetically make a virus that would be used to treat cancer,” she said. “It’s been really interesting to see the stuff you learn about in biology class, but do it hands-on.”

Madeline credits her interest in cancer research to incredible science teachers throughout her education.

During her free time, Madeline enjoys attending Auburn University sporting events. She played soccer and tennis in high school and said she has a passion for sports.

“If I wasn’t a scientist, I would probably be a sports broadcaster or something like that,” she shared.

She added that she has enjoyed being a COSAM student.

“I’ve had really good professors, really good advisors, everyone is very helpful,” she said. “The courses are very challenging, but it makes it to where you actually understand the material. The COSAM classes are the best. The professors really seem to care.”

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