Jason Small

February 24, 2023

Trine support prepared Small for graduate school

Jason SmallJason Small says the support system at Trine University prepared him to succeed in graduate school.

“Not only from my friends I met while at Trine, but the professors who supported me, and helped me so much in getting into graduate school,” he said. “I was the first person in my family to pursue a PhD, and I really had no clue what graduate school entailed, or what it was about until my professors talked to me about it, and told me it was something I should consider.”

Jason, who graduated from Trine in 2018 with degrees in biology and chemistry, recently defended his dissertation to earn his Ph.D. in molecular genetics from the University of Cincinnati.

Small details of disease

Interested in pursuing a doctorate in biochemistry, Jason applied to the University of Cincinnati’s Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology.

“I came for an interview and really enjoyed the atmosphere of the department and the other students during the interview weekend,” he said.

When he performed a rotation in the microbiology lab, he discovered he really enjoyed the work.

“The concept of organoids and using large tissue models for studying bacterial infection was fascinating,” he said. “I also really enjoyed the mentoring style of my advisor, and that was a large impact on why I stayed.”

“The department as a whole is very broad, but in short everyone focuses on the small details of what makes disease happen: for example, how one individual protein can cause systemic complications leading to disease.”

His thesis, titled “Modelling Shiga Toxin-Producing Escherichia coli Infection Using Intestinal Stem Cells,” focused on using stem cell models of the human intestine to study disease-causing bacteria.

“I focused on developing the model system, and identifying methods to move toward using them for other types of bacteria, and more complex studies,” he said. “I spent most of my time on method development. However, toward the end I was able to expand more on why these models are important, and illustrate their importance by looking at potential therapeutic compounds to reduce intestinal damage during infection.”

Always involved in research

Now that his doctorate is complete, Jason has accepted a position as a scientist at Medpace in Cincinnati. In that role, he will work in Medpace’s medical reference lab to oversee assay validation and implementation, data review and sponsor relationships.

He plans to continue working in industry and hopes to eventually work in a supervisory role.

“However, I will always want to be in a position where I am involved in scientific research to some extent,” he said.

He is grateful to all the science faculty at Trine for their help in preparing him to succeed in graduate school.

“All my classes helped prepare me, but it was really all about the connections made at Trine, and the enthusiasm of the professors about science that really made me enjoy the field, and encouraged me to go to graduate school,” he said.

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Jason Small

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