“If we can find a way to stimulate the expression of more of these proteins, then we potentially can find treatments for these [neurodegenerative] diseases.”
“I have always wanted to become a doctor—it would allow me to make a real difference in people’s lives, physically, mentally, and emotionally,” says Nicholas Farber, an Honors student majoring in Biology.
Nick is also carrying a major in Sport Management. “I love sports—I haven’t missed a home or spring game since arriving on campus—and I wanted my second major to be Business related. Sport Management fit perfectly.”
Why choose Florida State? Nick says, “When you visit Florida State’s campus there is a comfortable feeling you do not get anywhere else—you feel welcome. I also knew I would get the education required to pursue my medical school dream, as well as have opportunities to do undergraduate research and be involved in great extra-curricular activities.”
A member of the Honors Program since he was a freshman, Nick later became an Honors in the Major student. He recently completed his Honors Thesis, “The Effects of Nicotine Exposure in Adult Male Zebra Finches on the Expression of Heat Shock Protein,” under the guidance of Susanne Cappendijk, professor of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Medicine. “Dr. Cappendijk is passionate about her work and this rubs off on those who work with her. It is exciting to be challenged yet mentored.”
Of his research project Nick says, “Nicotine had been used to express heat shock proteins in other animals, so we chose to use it in our study. Using higher doses, we found increases in the amount of heat shock protein expressed in the brain and liver of the finch. Heat shock proteins help in refolding or eliminating misfolded proteins, proteins that are thought to be the cause of many neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Huntington’s. If we can find a way to stimulate the expression of more of these proteins, then we potentially can find treatments for these diseases.”
Always having enjoyed teaching, Nick has found that it also increases his own learning. Through the Biology Mentors program, he tutors his “fellow students who are taking the Biology, Chemistry, and Organic classes, and any other class they may need help with.”
He has also taken on several leadership roles in his fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi—as Interfraternity Council representative, risk management chair, and president. “The fraternity gives ample opportunities to participate in philanthropic events, such as our own Greek Idol, which supports SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions). In October, we raised almost $11,000 in honor of our friend and brother Michael Schwartz, who passed away during a drinking and driving accident. Being a part of a fraternity gives you a sense of family.”