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Undergraduate Research: Michael Reddick

McCormick senior finds passion for research in synthetic biology lab

Undergrads play an increasingly vital role in McCormick research laboratories; since 2005 the percentage of undergraduates engaged in research at the school has more than tripled to 40 percent.

Michael Reddick (chemical engineering’ 13) knew he wanted to try his hand at research; he didn’t know that he would discover such a passion for it. For the past two years, Reddick has worked in the lab of Keith Tyo, assistant professor of chemical and biological engineering, who studies cells’ metabolic networks to synthesize new materials and engineer new kinds of sensors.

Among Reddick’s projects: studying the intracellular communication of yeast cells to determine how they respond to stimuli. By rewiring the cells’ sensing mechanisms, Tyo’s team seeks to reprogram them to do useful things for humankind, such as providing an inexpensive and transportable diagnostic tool for the developing world.

“It requires a lot of patience and determination, but I also realized that it’s something I’m very interested in because the final result is very rewarding,” Reddick says. “I think it’s very exciting to be the one who’s making the discoveries that you can see other people, such as doctors, applying in their respective fields.”