A New Definition of Excellence—Excelling on the Court and in the Lab
During Conor Moran’s four years at Mason, class and homework took up only a fraction of his jam-packed days and even less of his boundless energy. The rest of the time was split between two other pursuits, which he attacked with equal enthusiasm: tennis, as a member of Mason’s men’s tennis team, and the lab, where he pursued an ambitious research agenda.
Even before he officially began his freshman year and transitioned to Division I athletics, Conor (Biology major, Class of 2016) gained experience as a researcher at Mason though the prestigious Aspiring Summer Scientists Internship Program. Very quickly, he found his way to the University’s Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, and he never really left. He spent the next four years helping to analyze the protein networks between different populations of lung cancer patients.
Conor’s research has focused on lung cancers that result in a mutation in a gene known as KRAS. “We use cutting edge technology, such as laser capture microdissection to allow for a more accurate picture at the genomic level of this disease,” he explains. In this research, Conor was supported by Prof. Mariaelena Pierobon and Elisa Baldelli, as a researcher at the center.
Even as he was pursuing the work of discovery in the lab, Conor excelled on the tennis court for Mason. Following his senior season, he and his doubles partner participated in Washington, DC’s Citi Open – a stop on the pro tour. Somehow, before graduation, Conor also managed to find the time to study abroad in Japan, Spain, and Italy.
Conor was accepted to the prestigious MD/PhD program at the University of Miami, but he has deferred his acceptance for one year – which he’ll spend playing tennis professionally in Spain.