Rx for Success

This article originally appeared in The Gallaudet Link’s Fall 2006 issue.

William “Tony” Gardner found his passion at Gallaudet.

“I took a chemistry class and fell in love with the field. Later, I realized there were too many specialties to pick from, but knew I liked to work with people, so I decided upon becoming a pharmacist.”

Dr. Michael Moore, then chair of the Chemistry Department, came to a class to talk about internships sponsored by the National Science Foundation. Tony decided to sign up for a ten-week chemistry internship at James Madison University (JMU) in Harrisburg, VA, a two-hour drive south of D.C.

The third-year chemistry student headed to JMU where he lived on campus for ten weeks during the summer. He, Dr. Moore and one other deaf student were provided with interpreters for meetings and laboratory work. “I had to do a lot of reading since I hadn’t taken a biochemistry course,” he said.

Tony’s JMU research project involved the use of an infrared instrument called the Bruker bioATR to study the muscle protein, myosin. Myosin is responsible for body movement and cell movement. It is dependent on Adenosine-Triphosphate (ATP) to produce a reaction that releases energy necessary to function. The Bruker bioATR instrument uses a laser to observe this reaction on a spectrum.

“My job was to use the Bruker to observe and find under what conditions, such as temperatures, this reaction will occur. My findings at the end of the summer were inconclusive; however, I did make some findings that I am interested in researching further should I return to JMU next summer.”

Although the results of his work won’t be seen for years, Tony is appreciative that he was part of an important endeavor.

The close-knit community during his internship also made him decide to continue his pharmacy studies at a small university after completing his undergraduate studies at Gallaudet.

“I like small classes where the professors and students are readily accessible, and actually have time for each other, like at Gallaudet,” he says. He is considering schools in the D.C. area, or in his home state of Florida.

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