Joshua Hack

AMP Student

Anticipated Graduation Date    May 2023

Degrees:    BS Molecular and Cellular Biology 2022 (ongoing), BA Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 2022 (ongoing)

Your LinkedIn account URL:

Research Advisor and Department:    Michael Hammer, Neurology

Your research area:  
   I am in the Hammer Lab studying rare pediatric disease SCN8A epileptic encephalopathy. My aim in this lab is two-fold: to develop an accurate predictive model for disease outcome associated with mutation, and increase our understanding of the disease's effect on other pathways. The first aim is being accomplished using a patient registry that the lab started in 2015 and analyzing the data using various statistical tests and analyses. The second aim is being accomplished using transcriptome analysis to identify genes of interest and RT-PCR to further investigate the effect that mutations in the SCN8A gene have on the gene in question. We are also using this technique to investigate why some medications have a largely positive effect on our mouse model.

What do you like to do outside of the lab? 
   Outside of the lab, I enjoy SCUBA diving and hiking. I also play upright bass in the University of Arizona's Philharmonic Orchestra and am involved in musical theater. I enjoy cooking and baking to destress during the week, with my primary baking interest being breads of all varieties. For more active hobbies, I play basketball and ultimate frisbee when I get the chance.

What outreach or service activities are you involved in?
  my family and I were with GTiHope providing literacy training in South Asia, focusing on people groups that don't have access to schools. The organization teaches their students how to read, as well as other skills that can be used to increase their income and improve the health of their community, such as AIDs prevention. I am also a part of PADI's Project Aware, which raises awareness for ocean conservation and organizes beach, ocean, and lake cleanups with divers. I work with Chi Alpha San Diego, doing beach cleanups and helping those with food insecurity

Honors and awards: 
   Arizona Excellence Tuition Scholarship (2018), Dean's List (4 times), First Level Honors (2019), Academic Year Distinction (2021), Music Undergraduate Scholarship (2018), National German Scholar (Gold: 2016,2017; Silver: 2017)

Favorite quote or guiding principle
   "If I must fall, I will rise each time a better man." -Dalinar Kholin, Oathbringer, Brandon Sanderson

Why did you choose to enter the MCB AMP Program?    I chose to enter the MCB AMP Program to gain a deeper and better understanding of what I have learned throughout my undergraduate studies. The courses and the additional research opportunities were very interesting to me, and the practice with writing papers and presenting my research that will be done in the seminars and journal club were another major part of why I decided to enter the program.