Cellular, Molecular, & Biomedical Sciences PhD program
Originally from New York's Long Island, Sean Lenahan graduated from UVM in 2016 with a B.S. in biochemistry. After graduation, he returned to New York for two years to work for AKORN Pharmaceuticals, running drug assays to test the potency of anti-fungal medications to increase his lab experience before applying to graduate school. "I wanted to get life experience working in the pharmaceutical industry and learning about how labs are run outside of academia," says Lenahan.
He returned to Vermont in 2018 and is now a fourth-year Ph.D. candidate in the UVM Cellular, Molecular, & Biomedical Sciences (CMB) program. As a member of the laboratory of Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine David Seward, M.D., Ph.D., Lenahan researches the underlying biological mechanisms driving immunotherapy resistance in non-small cell lung cancer patients.
Lenahan says he chose to come back to UVM for his graduate degree because of the atmosphere and available opportunities. "As an undergraduate, I found the environment to be both welcoming and comfortable," says Lenahan, adding, "I also recognized how collaborative and helpful everyone I interacted with was." He was also drawn back to UVM by the CMB program's curricular structure, which allows students to rotate in three different labs in different departments before choosing a mentor. This opportunity was particularly helpful for Lenahan, who was interested in many fields of research and wanted to explore various options before making a decision.
Lenahan doesn't have his sights set on a specific post-graduate plan at the moment, choosing instead to focus his energy on the present. "My goal in graduate school is to work hard, learn as much as I can, grow as a researcher, and make connections in order to have multiple paths to choose from moving forward," says Lenahan. "I love science and working in the lab, so if I can figure out a way to do that for the rest of my life, I will be very content."
In his role as a Larner Graduate Student Council representative, Lenahan will serve as chair of wellness and is particularly focused on organizing support for graduate students struggling with mental health.