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1999 - 2000 University Scholar
Mentor: Martha Campbell-Thompson
College of Medicine
Often times when children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, they
answer, "a doctor." Ted Lin had this response when he was an elementary school
student, and he is in the process of making this dream a reality. Ted has already delved
into the field of medical research and, through his interdisciplinary degree in
pharmacology, he has pursued studies in chemistry, biology, and genetics. His research
with the USP has focused on colon cancer prevention. "Cancer is one of those major
diseases that researchers have been struggling to find effective treatment and prevention
methods for," he says. "It's so hard to determine exactly how it develops and then how
we can develop drugs to treat it."
Ted has always had an interest in science and math, and he also enjoys helping people.
Therefore his decision to become a doctor is a logical choice. He is from Orange Park, and
his dad is an obstetrician and gynecologist. Ted says even though his father encouraged
him and his brother to be whatever they wanted to be, he always recommended
medicine as a future profession. "I didn't really feel pressured by my dad to become a
doctor, but I know he wants me to." His brother is pursuing a career in law, and Ted
jokingly says his dad still has one son who will "hopefully follow in his footsteps."
Even though Ted's eventual goal in medicine is to work directly with patients and possibly
become a surgeon, he also has great respect for the research field. "The only experience
I had with research was what I had seen on television or read about in magazines, but I
didn't really know what it was all about until I started working with my mentor," he says.
"There is so much that goes into research. I've had to learn to think about things in new
ways and when something doesn't work, think of a different approach -- which isn't
Ted's mentor, Martha Campbell-Thompson, encouraged him to work on his own and think
independently. The research they conducted dealt with the roles that estrogen and
vitamin D play in preventing colon cancer. Some of their findings suggest that estrogen
treatment by itself or in combination with vitamin D increases calcium uptake, which
could possibly lead to colon cancer prevention.
Ted's interest in immunology has led him to pursue a second research project dealing
with disease prevention. Currently he is working with Thomas Rowe on determining a
viable target so a more effective vaccination for malaria can be developed. A vaccine
already exists, but an improved version is needed because there are mutations in the
disease that make it difficult to develop an effective prevention method. "We're trying to
pinpoint something in the malaria-causing parasite that won't change or mutate. Then we
may be able to prevent its spread."
In addition to staying on top of his classes and spending about 12-15 hours a week in the
lab, Ted participates in the "Friends for Life" program in which he works with children at
Shands Hospital who have leukemia. Every week he visits and plays with the kids and
also helps organize public awareness campaigns that educate and inform people about
Ted is also busy applying to medical schools around the country and should receive a
response in the spring. Even though his parents would like him to stay fairly close to
home, he says he is ready to see other parts of the world. "My time at UF has been time
well spent, and I wouldn't change much, but I'm ready for a change of scenery."
Photo by Jane Dominguez
Back to the Journal of Undergraduate Research
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences I University Scholars Program I University of Florida I
ï¿½ University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611; (352) 846-2032.
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