Scientist of the Week: -nc -mts -cd

Caitlin Williamson

Senior Meghan Frear is a chemistry/biology interdisciplinary major and is interested in pursuing a career in pharmacy. She is currently in an independent study with David Hall, associate professor of chemistry. Her research, which she began last summer, involves testing the impact of nanoparticles on human immune systems.
“We’re taking nanoparticles from various sources [like gold], and we put them on macrophage cells, which are cells in the immune system of humans,” Frear said. “We’re seeing what happens — we’re looking for an inflammatory response.”
Another part of the independent study involves more than lab work — Frear is currently working on getting a paper about the research published, and that is one of the most challenging parts of her research project.
“[You have to put your results] in the bigger scheme of things,” Frear said. “You have to talk about what work has been done in this area, by you or by other labs, so that’s a lot of literature research. And then getting all of my data together in graphs and things, and interpreting them, and putting those results back in the bigger picture is a lot of work too.”
Frear noted that she has had to address many questions in completing her manuscript, such as “Is this important, what are we finding?” and “What is this going to mean for the next study?”
Although the research Frear is conducting does not pertain directly to the pharmaceutical sciences, her prime area of interest, she still finds her work fascinating.
“I think it’s interesting because we are using human cells in an undergraduate situation,” Frear said. “And the response that we’re looking for is really applicable to immune treatments and cancer therapy even, so it’s really important that we look at these kinds of responses. Looking into the human immune system is interesting, but I’m actually going on to pharmacy school next year.”
“My dad’s a pharmacist, so it’s always been there, I love science,” Frear said. “I don’t ever want to leave the sciences, so it seems like a perfect application.”
Frear is planning to attend graduate school at the University of California, San Francisco after she graduates this year.
“I plan to pursue more of a policy track, so it could take me into government or maybe larger companies. I’m not quite sure,” said Frear. “But I know that the field is really diverse so I’m looking forward to finding what I love in it.