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Nathan Bihlmeyer: Goldwater Scholar explores ‘infinite possibilities’

What really got me interested in genetics is the fact that the results are tangible and what you get to work with allows for almost an infinite amount of possibility.
I’m Nathan Bihlmeyer. I recently received the Goldwater 2010 Scholarship. I am currently an undergraduate in biochemistry, and I’m trying to get a minor in genetics. My career goal is to get a Ph.D. in genetics, so I can do research into human genetics.

I was interested in genetics, therefore I joined the (N.C. State University Undergraduate) Genetics Club, became an officer and eventually became president. And I’ve also started researching in the genetics department.

Currently my research is finding a novel system – a novel multimeric complex in Arabidopsis that represses the gene of AGAMOUS, which — to put that in layman’s terms — I’m trying to figure out how a flower makes a flower: Exactly what is in this complex that allows the plant to actually know how to put the flower organs where they need to go — petals on the outside, stamen on the inside, and everything else where it needs to go?

The university pushes the undergraduates into research so that they are more qualified and have more knowledge about their future.

We are a huge family at the Franks Lab. We all care for each other and help each other out constantly even if it’s not related to the actual lab work. Dr. (Robert G.) Franks is a great man. Let’s say you have been working for two months and you have gone completely full circle — whatever project you are working on has stopped working — he will come to you, he will talk to you, (and) you will discuss possible solutions. And by the end of that meeting you will leave that room completely re-inspired to take on the project.

After my undergraduate career, I will hopefully be accepted into a Ph.D. program in genetics. (Later) I will hopefully get a job at either a private or public university. I want to focus on the research, but of course at a university you must also teach. Everything that Dr. Franks is currently giving me, I will hopefully be able in the future give to some other undergraduate.

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