Marybeth Yonk is a 4th-year Neuroscience major studying drug repurposing to treat glioma (a central nervous system cancer) with Dr. Nicholas Boulis.

Marybeth's headshot.

How long have you been an undergraduate researcher at Georgia Tech?

I started as an undergraduate researcher in the Ethier Lab at Georgia Tech my second year and remained there for a year. My third year, I started my research at Emory in the Boulis Lab and I have been there ever since.

How did you get involved with undergraduate research?

I knew that I wanted to be involved in research coming into college, so I started by looking around for labs at Tech and found subject areas that interested me. From there, I emailed the lab and expressed my interest in becoming an undergraduate researcher.

Marybeth using test tubes in her research


What are you working on?

All the projects I am a part of involve improving the clinical aspects of glioma (central nervous system cancer) treatment by incorporating animal models and patient samples. The main project I am working on is a drug repurposing project based on the reuse of FDA-approved drugs to treat spinal cord glioma. The research I do is translational to many areas of study- whether it be computational, clinical, or in cell/animal models.

Marybeth working under a hood.


What is your favorite thing about research/researching?

My favorite thing about research is watching all our lab’s findings come together to tell a story. It is easy to get caught up in your individual portion of a project, but when conducting the data analysis and compiling the results from different tests and assays into a publishable product, you are reminded of just how impactful your research is.


Marybeth looking through a microscope.


What are your future plans and how has research influenced them?

My plan is to pursue an MD/Ph.D. in Neurosurgery/Neurology. Initially, I just planned on pursuing an MD, but after working in a clinical research lab, I have developed a passion for intertwining treatment development and personalized patient data into research. I think research and innovation is necessary for successful medicinal developments and I want to combine those passions into one career and see how research impacts positively affect patients.