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Biology student pursues medical research through Honors Program

Moe Khalil in lab

Senior Moe Khalil conducting Honors Research.

Senior Moe Khalil joined the Honors Program at Illinois State as a transfer student because of the unique experiences it provides students. Khalil’s favorite opportunities in the Honors Program include initiating Honors Contracts and collaborating with faculty through Honors Research.

Khalil, a molecular and cellular biology major, has collaborated with instructors in an impressive nine upper-level biology and chemistry courses. His main work was done in the lab of Assistant Professor of Molecular Neuroethology Andres Vidal-Gadea.

What inspired Moe to immerse himself in research? After taking an introductory course in neurobiology, Khalil became fascinated with the role of the nervous system in many neuro-genetic disorders. Khalil then studied this disorder in worms, which share a similar gene with humans. His Honors Contracts resulted in products that utilized his writing and critical thinking skills, among other Dimensions of Honors Learning, such as Information Fluency.

“Completing Honors Contracts has been an important part of my success in college,” Khalil said. “It has allowed me to develop a unique relationship with my professors and dig deeper into the subject.”

Khalil believes his Honors Contracts have made him a “well-rounded, strong” leader in his field.

To continue his learning, Khalil pursued an Honors Independent Study focused on discovering a cure for Angelman syndrome, a neuro-genetic disorder.

“We are currently making progress in our research, along with other researchers, to eventually find a cure for this disease in humans,” he said. “I’ve always been extremely fascinated with science, and doing research helps me to apply the science techniques I’ve learned in my classes to real-life experiences in the lab.”

After graduation, Khalil plans to complete an M.D./Ph.D. program that combines medical education with high-impact scientific research. The great level of responsibility and diversity in his chosen field is appealing to Khalil. This drive is evident throughout his Honors coursework as well.

“Completing Honors research demands more from a student … you must go beyond the basics,” Khalil said.M.Khalil_Pic2

Khalil recommends the Honors Program to students interested in seeking a higher level of learning and more involvement in their major. “There are a lot of perks and rewards just waiting for you…if you’re thinking about joining the Honors Program, be ready to get involved,” he said.

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