Student Spotlight April 2010
Pharmacology and Toxicology
4th year Ph.D. Student
Lindsey Jay Stallons is a graduate student currently pursuing his degree in the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Pharmacology and Toxicology program. Jay’s undergraduate studies at U of L in chemistry with an emphasis in biochemistry opened the door for his current research when he was selected to work for the Cancer Education Program Fellowship at U of L. This opportunity led Jay into his graduate research, where he examines the roles of genes involved in replicating damaged DNA in UV-induced skin carcinogenesis. Using mouse models of UV induced skin cancer, Jay’s studies focus on how the homologues of the gene XPV act in the cell to copy UV-damaged DNA and cause the bulk of mutations that cause skin cancer. It is the hope of Jay and other scientists that this research can be used as a model for other environmentally induced cancers that are induced by DNA damaging agents. As a result of his research, he has been the recipient of several travel awards from the university and has been able to present on a local and national level, even presenting internationally at the Environmental Mutagen Society Meeting in Puerto Rico.
Aside from his research, Jay has worked diligently to remain involved on campus and thoroughly supplement his education with professional development. Intent on not only learning about his specific discipline, but providing himself with a well-rounded experience that will prepare him for his future as a professor, Jay has pursued activities that will develop his skills in research, teaching, and administration. To obtain this goal, during the 2009-2010 school year Jay is serving as Vice-President of the Graduate Student Council (GSC), is the Medical Council Graduate Student Representative, and serves as a Student Government Association (SGA) senator. In previous years, he has been a GSC departmental representative, was a member of the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Departmental Chair Search Committee, and founded the Third Thursday Seminar Series for the Department of Pharmacology. In addition to these responsibilities, he has mentored several undergraduate students and presented lectures to educate advanced nursing students about Pharmacology
In addition to his research and campus involvement, one of Jay’s greatest passions in life is his volunteer work with animal rescue organizations. Jay and his wife devote time to the Animal Care Society, a no-kill shelter in Louisville, and have recently adopted a greyhound from Greyhound Pets of America. Since the adoption of their Grey this past July, they have both spent a considerable amount of time encouraging the adoption of these often mistreated animals by working public relation events at pet stores and city festivals.
With an anticipated graduation date in 2010, Jay aspires to fulfill his dreams of both researching and teaching by eventually becoming a professor. Following the tradition dictated by the strict discipline of science, after graduation Jay will complete a three-year post doctoral fellowship. During this time, he will be focused on developing his ability to work as an independent investigator, before finding employment as an assistant professor.
For Jay, the most challenging aspect of graduate school was coping with failure. In a research-based field, where a success rate of 50% is considered excellent, it can be difficult to see progress. For the first 12 months of his graduate career, Jay was unable to produce any successful results with his experiments and seriously considered quitting the program. Fortunately, his wife convinced him otherwise and shortly after, he finally began to see success in his research. Jay remarked, “The single biggest thing I’ve had to deal with is failing. Being able to fail for months and months and still get up, go to work and do it again. Thank God I did, because I’m finally getting things to work. After four years of screwing up everything, I’m getting everything to work.”