Goldwater Scholar Prepares for Career Bridging Research with Patient Care

Devin Bready | Undergraduate | Biochemistry 

(Update: Devin is now pursuing an M.D./Ph.D. dual degree program at New York University (NYU))

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

Bready has earned recognition for his academic success, his work as an undergraduate researcher and as a teaching assistant in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical biology. His original goal as an IUPUI undergraduate 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 spring, when the Bepko Scholar became the second School of Science student to earn a prestigious Goldwater Scholarship award, and he received a highly selective summer research opportunity from the New York University Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the Langone Medical Center.Devin Bready

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.”

During his nine-week summer research program, Bready worked with Einar Sigurdsson, Ph.D., to validate immunotherapy methods for treating Alzheimer’s disease. At the end of the summer, Bready and other student researchers from programs along the East Coast presented their work at a conference in Stanford, Conn. Additionally, he had the opportunity to shadow an infectious disease physician at Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the country.

After learning he was accepted in the NYU program, Bready was humbled by the Goldwater honor. 

“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.”

Bready also received offers from other summer programs including one at the Mayo Clinic. Still, he favored the NYU program since he knew recent Science graduates Ahmed Malik and Tomás Meijome had positive experiences.

“The program likes our university, because they get students with lots of research experience,” Bready said. He encourages Science students who are interested in careers in research and medicine to apply to the program. The experience helped him understand different philosophies and cultures in research environments.

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 summer research conference that was part of his NYU program allowed him to network with graduate schools and narrow down his top choices for duel-degree programs.

“It will come down to which one is the bet fit,” he predicted.

(Contributor: Ric Burrous, IU Communications)