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Student Success Story

Tanner BowenTanner Bowen, a former Biomedical Science Academy student at WWTC, who was awarded the prestigious Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) internship, worked as a Kirkpatrick Foundation Fleming Scholar this past summer.  The internship program was developed to identify and stimulate the scientists of tomorrow. 

Bowen spent 8 weeks at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation in Oklahoma City as a Fleming Scholar intern.  He worked in Dr. Courtney Griffin’s lab, where they study epigenetics and the effects of blood vessel development.  His work concentrated on distinguishing between the roles of the Chromatin-Remodeling Enzyme CHD4 and the Extracellular Matrix in the Regulation of Endothelial Cell Necroptosis.

“Our project’s aim was to define the causes of endothelial cell necroptosis in vascular development and to better understand the contribution of necroptotic cell death to vascular disease.  We used genetic and cell culture experiments to test our hypothesis.  Mutant vessels upregulate a critical necroptosis executor gene called Ripk3 which has shown to contribute to the severity of many different pathological conditions, but its causes and effects in the vascular system are largely unknown,” said Bowen.

The Fleming Scholar Program was founded in 1956 as a way to give Oklahoma’s high school and college students “hands-on” biomedical research experience. The program is named for Sir Alexander Fleming, the famed British scientist, who discovered penicillin and in 1949 came to Oklahoma City to formally dedicate the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation’s first building.

“The best aspect of the Fleming Scholar program was the opportunity to study with people that are at the top of their fields. I made contacts with PhD holders and Ivy League trained researchers that I will be able to use as I strive to continue my scientific education. Without Mr. Lindley and the Biomedical Science Academy at WWTC, I would have never had the opportunity to work at OMRF,” said Bowen.

Bowen is currently attending Oklahoma Christian University majoring in Cellular and Molecular Biology.  He is the son of Kelly and Diana Bowen of Weleetka; grandson of the late William E. Cline and the late Peggy Cline of Okemah; the late Roy McMahan and June McMahan and the late Harvey Bowen of Meeker. 


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