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Student Double Majors in Biology & Math for Medical Career

10/04/17

Taurus LondonoWith the dream of a multifaceted career as a physician scientist and a biomedical engineer, Taurus Londoño ’18 of Lenox, Mass., majors in both biology and math. Interested in critical care medicine, he aims to one day become a clinician who cares for very ill patients.

“I’m especially interested in cardiac arrest and the lack of blood flow to the brain that happens as a result – global cerebral ischemia,” he explained. “Ultimately, the brain is the one organ none of us can afford to lose, and it is upon this complex structure that cardiac arrest exerts its deadliest effects.”

As an MCLA student, “I’m steadily acquiring the knowledge and skills that will provide the foundation for the models and treatments I hope to develop to fight cardiac arrest and save lives,” Londoño said.

A transfer student to campus from Berkshire Community College (BCC), he would like to help develop future interventions to mitigate the damage associated with global cerebral ischemia: “I believe that the best way to illuminate this horrible disease state is to combine mathematical models (e.g. of blood flow in the brain) with a deep knowledge of the complex biology that underlies the brain, circulatory system, and body as a whole. 

“It’s also essential to address cardiac arrest at the population level, using statistical analysis to identify risk factors, and combining epidemiology – the science of patterns of disease in populations – with preventative medicine, so that many of these patients don’t end up in cardiac arrest in the first place,” Londoño explained.

Cardiac arrest, Londoño said, is a public health issue of immense magnitude, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths each year in this country. However, the issue appears to draw disproportionately low research. “Hoping to change this state of affairs was one extremely influential factor in my decision to pursue a career in medicine,” he added.

Math didn’t always come easily to Londoño, who tutors his peers at MCLA’s new Math Drop-in Center, in the Feigenbaum Center for Science and Innovation (CSI), where he serves as head tutor. “As a nontraditional student with a bachelor’s degree in English, I have a unique perspective on learning to be comfortable with math,” he said.

“When you exercise or practice for a sport, giving effort, getting better at it, and having fun doing it is part of the point.” The process of learning math, Londoño added, “is fundamentally similar!” 

One thing that makes MCLA special, he explained, “is the feeling that you're never just a face in the crowd, that professors are personally invested in your success. It's hard for me to imagine how my academic career in biology and math might have gone without the consistent encouragement and availability of our outstanding faculty. 

“In both the biology and math departments, there is a powerful sense of camaraderie, a sense that you, your fellow students, and faculty are all in it together. It motivates you not to shy away from help when you need it, and it also inspires you to work together with classmates for your mutual success.”

Londoño added, “Attending MCLA has been one of the best choices I've ever made. If you're interested in a liberal arts education at a college that is absolutely invested in your success, MCLA is it.”