MD/PhD student’s allergy research stems from childhood experiences
Kristin Lambert remembers being vexed at the age of 7, when she asked her parents for a dog and was told that would not be possible because of her allergies.
“I remember thinking, ‘Why has no one figured this out? Someone should cure allergies so people can have dogs,’” she said.
Now in her fifth year of the MD/PhD program at Penn State College of Medicine, the graduate of Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College is researching how allergic inflammation works and is hoping to use a bench-to-bedside approach to help provide relief to allergy sufferers of all ages.
During her sophomore year in Schreyer, Lambert remembers having trouble deciding on a career path for after graduation. She met with Schreyer Honors College Director of Career Development Lisa Kerchinski, who asked if Lambert had heard of dual degree MD/PhD training programs and mentioned an upcoming information session with the College of Medicine’s MD/PhD program director.
Lambert attended that information session, went to a program retreat not long after, and completed a summer internship with the Penn State College of Medicine MD/PhD program before applying for admission. She ended up becoming the honors college’s first participant in the Schreyer Early Assurance MD/PhD program, which integrates medical and graduate education.
“Within a year’s time, I went from having no clue what I was going to do for a career to Lisa setting me on this fantastic trajectory and this life journey to become a physician scientist through Penn State,” Lambert said.
Lambert, who graduated with honors from the College of Agricultural Sciences with a bachelor’s degree in immunology and infectious disease, liked the way that major gave her the opportunities to explore different career paths much the same way she likes the versatility the MD/PhD program affords her.
“You get to do research, see patients and be involved in clinical care,” she said, “and then you get to teach and do mentorship as well.”
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