Bharat spent four years (2010-2014) as a member of the Irvin D. Reid Honors College. During that time, he worked with the volunteering group Detroit Blight Busters, conducted research in Dr. Nabanita’s Datta’s lab, and co-authored a published paper that was featured in the Journal of Endocrinology. His other accomplishments included graduating Summa Cum Laude, being on the Department of Chemistry Chair’s Honors List from 2010-2012, and being a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Q: How did you hear about the Honors College, and what was your first involvement? What activities/service projects/volunteer work did you take part in while being a part of the Honors College?
I heard about the Honors College through my interest in the MedStart program at Wayne State, and my first involvement was the freshman year trip we took around Detroit in an effort to learn more about the city’s culture and roots. During my time in the Honors College, I took part in various volunteering/service projects around Detroit, but my work with the Detroit Blight Busters was the most memorable. As a college student, I was able to venture out into the community and use my very own hands to aid in the Motor City rebuilding process (literally! I used sledgehammers and axes to break down abandoned buildings.)
Q: How did those experiences enrich your experience with the College?
Those experiences enriched my experience with the Honors College because I was able to immerse myself in the city of Detroit as a city resident rather than a student. In other words, the Honors College allowed me to feel like I was a citizen of Detroit in addition to being a student at Wayne State.
Q: Why did you choose the School of Medicine at UC Irvine, and how did the MedStart program prepare you for medical school after Wayne State University?
Due to the fact that I am a California resident, I chose to come back to California for financial reasons and the opportunity to be close to my family. At this point, I feel MedStart did a good job in preparing me for medical school. I was constantly surrounded by extremely intelligent people during my undergraduate years, which allowed me to learn from the best while taking difficult courses. In addition, having the ability to attend monthly medical seminars at the WSU SOM allowed me to stay updated with current medical specialties and research.
Q: During your time at Wayne State University, you were a Research Assistant with the School of Medicine. Please describe the research you did, the findings, and how this related to the degree you earned.
As a research assistant in Dr. Nabanita Datta’s lab (contact her if you want awesome research!), I studied the involvement of PTH in body homeostasis and its relation to debilitating diseases including obesity and osteoporosis. Over the course of my time in Dr. Datta’s lab, I assisted in elucidating the signal transducing pathways of PTH using in vitro/in vivo mouse models. As I reflect, the most exciting experiences I had in lab involved completing various surgical procedures on mice in an effort to extract and study calvarial and bone marrow stem cells.
It looks like you have co-authored a published paper in the Journal of Endocrinology. What was the paper on and what did you contribute to the research? Briefly describe the experience you gained while co-authoring the paper. What was the biggest thing you learned? Are you currently working on publishing anything else?
The paper aimed to elucidate MKP1-dependant PTH modulation. My job specifically involved isolating and culturing calvarial cells from knock-out and wild-type mice, exposing them to various inhibitors and excitatory subtances, and quanitifying the effects using Von Kossa staining etc. The biggest thing that I learned during the process is that research takes the utmost patience. There were times when my cell cultures would become contaminated and I would have to repeat the entire experiments, and the culturing itself took weeks at a time before any valuable results could be determined. Consequently, I gained a newfound appreciation for the laboratory research that goes into discovering clinical correlates. Currently, I am not involved in research as I am focused on making sure I keep up with the material we learn in medical school, but I hope to continue my research interests this summer.
Q: What is your lasting impression of the Honors College?
The Honors College at Wayne State University provided me with the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the city of Detroit while pursuing my economic interests and gaining extensive knowledge in the field of medicine. Although I have left the Motor City, I will always carry the spirit of Detroit with me, and I thank the Honors College for four wonderful years!
Q: What kind of advice would you give incoming or current Honors students?
Study hard because your academic achievements play an important role in determining the course of your professional path. But at the same time, make sure you get involved and explore Detroit, as it is an incredible city full of culture, history, and fun. When you graduate from Wayne State, you want to feel like you not only excelled academically, but also played a role in the city’s rebuilding and revitalization process.