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October 2015

Life is Hard: Keep Your Eyes Fixed on the Prize

Life is Hard: Keep Your Eyes Fixed on the Prize

Career Story Blog Post By Andrew Tomaras, PhD, Vice President and Director of Microbiology at BacterioScan Inc.

I was 3.5 years old when my sister was born with Down Syndrome, and one of the earliest childhood memories I can recall was being at the hospital with all of my extended family members awaiting her arrival.  Needless to say, it was not the typical glee-filled event.  During her early life, my sister struggled with multiple medical issues common in Down’s – she had open heart surgery at 6 weeks old, got pneumonia constantly (which always seemed to happen while on family vacations), and had to undergo speech therapy starting at a very young age.  The constant exposure I had to emergency rooms, doctors’ offices, etc. really impacted me in a way that I wouldn’t fully comprehend until later in life.  My interest in science, particularly in medicine and human disease, was undoubtedly fueled by these early childhood experiences.

Naturally I entered college as a pre-med major, and college was…..well……college.  I did alright, but definitely had my fun.  One of the core requirements for my microbiology major was to do a semester of laboratory research, which I did in the department’s ecology lab.  It gave me an awesome research experience, even though it wasn’t directly related to human medicine.  Now up until this point, I had been gung-ho for medical school, then suddenly this fantastic research experience completely threw my world into a tailspin.