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Alumna Profile: Brittany Townley, ’15

Former biology major heading to St. Louis for PhD

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Growing up near the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Brittany Townley, ’15, developed an early love of science, Now she is about to move closer to turning that lifelong interest into a career.

After a year and a half as a post-baccalaureate fellow in a research lab at the National Cancer Institute, Ms. Townley was recently accepted into the PhD program in molecular cell biology at Washington University, in St Louis, which she plans to begin this summer.

“I’m very excited,” said Ms. Townley, who was also accepted into two other PhD programs. She favored Washington University in part because of its large number of faculty who she feels will expose her to a variety of different biomedical research areas and opportunities to collaborate.

At the National Cancer Institute, in Bethesda, Md., Ms. Townley works in the Laboratory of Genome Integrity, studying the development of T cells in mice. T cells are an important part of the immune system.

“It’s really interesting because you get to see how findings in the lab can be translated to a clinical setting, “ Ms. Townley said.

Through the PhD program, the Falmouth High School graduate hopes to advance her goal of working in the field of cancer biology and immunology, either at a university or for a private firm.

Ms. Townley said BSU, where she was a biology major with a biochemistry minor, paved the way for her current pursuits, citing in particular the research she did in the lab of professors Jeffery Bowen and Meredith Krevosky. Two summers working at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory were also helpful.

“The biology department at BSU allows you to have an incredibly rich research experience,” she said.

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