Sean McGrath.Hometown: Lamar, Colorado
Undergraduate Institution: Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado

I am fascinated by research. The topic itself actually doesn’t matter too much. It’s the process of discovering new things that I find very exciting. My current research focuses on the molecular mechanisms involved in the developing pancreas. We utilize stem cells and mimic signaling events in vivo to produce pancreatic tissue in a dish which can then be used for experiments which will hopefully lead to novel therapeutics and/or tissue replacement therapies for diseases such as type 1 diabetes.

I originally came to Cincinnati for the grad program. I didn't really know anything about this city. But since being here I’ve come to enjoy many things about Cincinnati including a very affordable standard of living. I can easily afford a 1 bedroom apartment only 15 minutes from campus on my graduate stipend. Also, Cincinnati has a nice big little city feel. It has all the big city amenities (professional sports, arts, music, food, dancing, and recreation) without the stress-inducing urban sprawl of megacities (my opinion, of course).

I’ve been very happy with the MDB program and would recommend it to anybody. It’s a large program with many researchers investigating many areas so you can likely work on anything you’re interested in. We’re affiliated with one of the best children’s hospitals in the country. We enjoy a stipend that easily covers the cost of living and of course some fun stuff on the side (no, we don’t get rich…but that’s expected in grad school right!). Our courses are taught by the faculty who specialize and do research in that particular topic, what more of an expert can you ask for? And finally, I fully expected to be required to be a teacher’s assistant of some form but was pleased to find that is absolutely not required which frees your time to focus 100% on research. Of course, mentoring, tutoring, and student teaching are all available options if you’re looking for the experience!

The caliber of researchers is fantastic. That in tandem with endless opportunities for collaboration at Cincinnati Children’s leads to lots of great discussion, valuable insight, and in the long run much better research than if you were to do it all by yourself. Furthermore, no matter what experiments I may be doing, the latest and greatest equipment is always somewhere on site and attainable for use. I really can’t imagine a better research environment.