Brianna McGowan ’21 Researches IVF Treatments at Magee-Womens Research Institute

Created: June 11, 2019
Last Updated: July 17, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (June 11, 2019)— Brianna McGowan’s experience at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) has been hands-on since the start, with plenty of time spent working in the lab alongside W&J faculty. This summer, she’s ready to take her education a step further.

With encouragement from her professors and advisor, Professor of Chemistry Mark Harris, Ph.D.,and funding from W&J’s J. Robert Maxwell ’43 Internship Endowment Fund, the junior biochemistry major took on a research internship with Magee-Womens Research Institute in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The lab uses mouse embryos to study maternal imprinting factors and mitochondria depletion in embryos produced by superovulation, or the drug-induced production of multiple eggs. The research seeks to improve assisted reproductive technologies for humans, such as in vitro fertilization.

Brianna has enjoyed meeting researchers in her lab and hearing about their different educational backgrounds. She sees parallels between their backgrounds and her education at W&J, and takes pride in knowing that her work is making a difference in the field.

“It’s really cool to have a meaningful impact on something that can eventually impact patient care. The stuff that my lab is working on really matters,” she said.

Brianna credits W&J’s diverse liberal arts curriculum and education experiences beyond the classroom with preparing her for this internship.

“Having so much lab experience at W&J has definitely given me a leg up on students from other colleges,” she said. “Other classes at W&J, such as a gender and women’s studies course I took, gave me insight to a lot of social and political pressures that effect women’s health care, which influences the particular study that I am working on.”

The internship experience with Magee has opened Brianna’s eyes to potential career opportunities to pursue after she graduates from W&J.

“Since I plan on becoming a physician, it is important for me to get as much research experience as I can. I have found that I really enjoy working in a lab, so now I will alter my future career paths to include some type of research,” she said.

About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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