Sylvia Zohrabian (2015)

Research Associate, Department of Cardiology, Boston Children’s Hospital

What can I say about my experience at Georgetown? Upon entering the program, I had no idea that 9 months could drastically alter my life. Prior to entering the program, I was unsure whether to pursue my interest in healthcare as a scientific researcher or physician. As a result, I discovered the M.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Georgetown, which seemed like an appropriate program to access both avenues through their extensive research available and association with the MedStar hospital system.

During this 9-12 month program, you’re challenged to complete 30 credit requirements and a graduate research study internship. Although this might seem daunting at first, the Georgetown faculty and peers make the workload very feasible. The highlight of my experience was my research study in Dr. Vicente Notario’s laboratory. When I entered Dr. Notario’s office, I discussed my research interest in understanding the expression of metabolites in relation to cancer and my background as a DMPK analyst at GSK. As a result, Dr. Notario and I developed a project connecting my research interests and background with his current work. In addition to being able to collaborate with a mentor to develop a project that suits my research interests, Dr. Notario through his extensive years as a well-respected researcher at Georgetown has established many contacts in various organizations, one of which was Dr. Yamil Simon from the mass spectrometry core at NIST. Dr. Notario’s relationship with Dr. Simon allowed the project to be a dual collaboration between Georgetown University and NIST. As a result, I had the pleasure of utilizing the databases and resources at both the Georgetown campus and NIST. This collaboration between Georgetown and NIST allowed me to experience and compare the academic and government environments.

My experience at Georgetown verified my interest to pursue biomedical research and health advocacy as a profession. Upon graduating, various pharmaceutical companies, biotech companies, and academic institutions pursued me. Due to my previous experience at GlaxoSmithKline, I chose to accept a highly coveted position at Boston Children’s Hospital understanding the role of the Hippo-Yap pathway in cardiomyocyte regeneration, which has resulted in my recent contribution and publication of a developmental cell paper. I’m thoroughly thankful for the opportunities that Georgetown provided me, in particular, my relationship with Dr. Notario and his continued mentorship after completion of the program.