May 12, 2017

UM student to spend summer as research assistant at Harvard University

This summer, UM student Brian Kirkwood of Huntsville will act as a research assistant for Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Richard Cummings at his lab housed in Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Kirkwood, a junior, is interested in joining the fight against cancer by either treating the disease as an oncologist or pursuing a Ph.D. to research cures. According to Dr. Dalila Mathews, assistant professor of chemistry at UM, Kirkwood has one of the most well developed career plans of any of her students and never misses a research day in the lab.

In addition to his academic abilities, Kirkwood has also been highly involved on campus. He is a founding father of UM’s chapter of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, the outgoing SGA Vice President and will help lead the Purple Side as male leader during next year’s College Night homecoming tradition.

The junior looks forward to the challenge ahead and is confident in the tools he has acquired through his UM education.

“The professors in Harman Hall focus on developing analytical reasoning skills that can out pace many graduates of large institutions,” he said.

Kirkwood is the latest UM student to work with Cummings, a 1974 graduate of the University of Montevallo. The University’s Department of Biology, Chemistry and Mathematics only recommends students with the proven work ethic, exceptional academic record and experience suitable for the challenging environment of the Harvard lab.

“For the University as a whole, the fact that our students can go to Harvard and perform well reinforces that we’re doing a good job at UM of providing a high-quality education for these students,” said Dr. Houston Byrd, chair of the department.