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Millsaps Senior Presents Research at National Meeting

by Web on April 3, 2017

Ty Patterson discovered as a Millsaps College student his interest in solving scientific problems.

He will continue that interest after he graduates in May at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., where he has accepted a two-year postbaccalaureate research fellowship.

Patterson will study the immunology of tissue rejection after transplant surgery.

“I will be working on a project exploring the use of the chemotherapeutics during cyclophosphamide for the treatment of graft versus host disease,” he said. “I work there for two years until I enroll in an M.D.-Ph.D. degree program.”

At Millsaps, Patterson has conducted cell biology research during the last year in the lab of Dr. Sabrice Guerrier, assistant professor of biology, aimed at identifying proteins involved in selective autophagy in the cilliate tetrahymena.

“Prior to doing research here at Millsaps, I planned to enter medical school after college; however, after working with Dr. Guerrier I decided to pursue a career as a physician-scientist and get both my M.D. and Ph.D.,” said Patterson, who is majoring in biochemistry.

Patterson presented his research in February at the Mississippi Academy of Sciences Meeting, where he received second place in the cell and developmental biology undergraduate poster session.

He also attended the American Society for Cell Biology meeting with Guerrier last December in San Francisco and Patterson presented his research in poster form. His poster described research focused on how cells identify material for degradation and distinguish this damaged/expendable material from normal cellular material. Importantly, defects in the degradation of damaged cellular material are associated with several disease states including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

The opportunity to study in a grounded academic environment and play football attracted Patterson, who is from Jacksonville, Fla., to Millsaps.

He names Guerrier; Dr. Wolfgang Kramer, professor of chemistry; Dr. Cory Toyota, assistant professor of organic chemistry; and Dr. Tim Ward, professor of chemistry and associate dean of sciences, as some of his favorite professors. “They have pushed me to learn more while remaining extremely accessible, which has made learning enjoyable,” he said.

Patterson said it is challenging at Millsaps to juggle extracurricular activities with the demands of his classes, but he seems to have done it. He has played football at Millsaps for three years, worked as a teacher’s assistant, and been involved in Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity. He is a member of Alpha Epsilon Delta pre-heath honorary and Beta Beta Beta biology honorary.