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Research is Crucial to Continued Success

Aver Yakubu, a senior at the University of Missouri-Columbia, has personal reasons for being interested in cancer research and public health.

Yakubu’s family is from Nigera, although she grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Maryland Heights. Soon after she started college, her Nigerian cousin developed a rare tumor in his abdomen. His treatments back home weren’t helping, and the boy was near death. Her family assisted in bringing him to the United States for treatment.

“If we weren’t able to bring him here, he would have died,” she said.

And, that was just not acceptable to Yakubu.

Yakubu was one of 46 students to present research at the Capitol Rotunda March 1 as part of the University of Missouri System’s Undergraduate Research Day. As part of the day, Yakubu was able to visit with legislators from her hometown and tour the chambers of the Missouri House and Senate.

A biochemistry major on the pre-med track, she presented research on the behavior of cells exposed to an ultraviolet laser. Eventually, the research could have implications in the treatment of diseases such as cancer.

Yakubu said that before coming to MU she knew that she wanted to be a doctor. But studying at the Columbia campus also ignited a passion in research, which is crucial to her continued success.

“These days, you can’t apply to medical school without research experience,” she said. “If you don’t get that foundation as an undergrad, you can only go so far.”

When she graduates, Yakubu plans to pursue both a medical degree and a doctoral degree in the medical science field. In addition to medical research, she also has a specific interest in working on public health issues in West Africa.

Learn more about some of the undergraduate researchers:

Angela Gutierrez, University of Missouri-Kansas City

Joseph Kurtz, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Patrilie Hernandez, University of Missouri-St. Louis