SUNY Plattsburgh Student Profile - Julius Oni
Julius' Journey: One Student's Role in the Fight to Cure Breast Cancer
Julius Oni has done some traveling. From his native Nigeria, Julius came to Plattsburgh State to study biology and pre-med as a presidential scholar.
Last summer, he spent nearly two months at the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. There he conducted genetic research to determine the single-stranded D.N.A. binding activity of a specific subunit of the Replication Protein A (RPA), a human replication protein required for multiple cellular processes.
And this fall, Julius traveled to the National Institutes of Health (N.I.H.) in Bethesda, Maryland to help Dr. Barbara Vonderhaar conduct research in the fight to cure breast cancer.
"My research is about examining the roles of different forms of the Human Prolactin receptor and the effect that co-transfects of these forms have on each other. This will increase our understanding of the role of Prolactin in human breast cancer."
"It has definitely been an eye-opener in a lot of ways. I keep learning something new everyday - about new research techniques, how the N.I.H. works, the history of medical research, cool antique instruments on display all over the buildings, up-to-date information on the most recent developments in medical research and so on."
Julius credits Plattsburgh State faculty members for their roles in his success.
Dr. Nancy Elwess, his research advisor, and Janice Marchut-Conrad, his academic advisor, both played important parts in his preparation for the summer research experiences and fall program at the N.I.H.
"They both are clear examples of the faculty's dedication to students' development and excellence," Julius said.
The Right Education and a Special Place to Make Friends
Julius believes Plattsburgh State is a great school for a student to get an education and a special place to make friends. He credits his Plattsburgh State education over the past three years as one of the reasons he was selected to spend the fall at the N.I.H.
"I do miss Plattsburgh a lot, and I didn't realize how much I was going to miss it initially. It has been a great experience so far at Plattsburgh State. I've had a great time. Plattsburgh is not too big that you don't have a lot of opportunities, and it is not too small that you know everybody. The classes I have taken at Plattsburgh have definitely prepared me for the courses I am taking right now. If you are determined and motivated enough, you can compete nationally and go places. I am loving every minute of it."
It may be some time yet before Julius returns home to Nigeria to see his father, a general practitioner, and mother, a high school principal. His last visit was in December 2000. When he needs to see friends - many he now considers in his extended family - he returns to Plattsburgh State as he did during Homecoming Weekend.
Julius' experiences have increased his passion for medical research.
"I can't really see myself doing anything else," he said. "I was excited about it. I still want to be a cardiovascular surgeon, but I want to do some research, too, on something related to cardiology."
Although the prospect of 12 or more years in medical school and residency seems long, Julius has a positive outlook on his future.
"If I'm a cardiovascular surgeon by 35, that's not too bad."
If you would like to learn more about the Biology program at Plattsburgh State, please contact:
Dr. Peter Conrad (Chairperson)
E-mail: [email protected]