Graduate Alumni Focus | Blair Kreh, M.S.'22
"Hood College provided me with a broad skill set. From various on-campus opportunities to my research experience at Frederick National Laboratory, my Hood College education has enhanced my academic and social skills."
Blair Kreh, Biomedical Science M.S.'22
Blair Kreh '21, M.S.'22, is a recent graduate of Hood College's M.S. in biomedical science program. During his time at Hood, Blair was a member of the molecular pharmacology program at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, the 4PLUS dual-degree program, and he completed his master's thesis. At this year's Commencement ceremony, Blair gave the graduate school remarks. This fall, Blair will be joining the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) degree.
What was it like giving the graduate school remarks at Commencement?
Delivering my remarks at the Class of 2022 Commencement was an exhilarating and serendipitous moment. My Hood College experience was quite unique, as I had the fortunate opportunity to graduate with a bachelor’s and master’s degree consecutively.
I recognized this as an opportunity to connect with my fellow peers, to bridge the gap between the undergraduate and graduate students, and to unify the Class of 2022. I am grateful for the privilege to represent the Hood College Graduate School at Commencement. I will remember that day forever.
Could you briefly summarize the topic of your thesis?
My master’s thesis was titled “Assessment of a Novel RAR-γ Selective agonist in vitro and in combination treatment with immune checkpoint inhibition in vivo using a Syngeneic Murine Lung Cancer Model.”
Recently, immunotherapy, which activates immune cells to target cancer cells, has been recognized as an effective strategy to treat lung cancer. This study assessed the efficacy of novel retinoid (vitamin A derivative) agonist that selectively targets the retinoic acid receptor (RAR)-γ subtype.
This study provided valuable insight into the mechanism(s) of this novel immunotherapy and may have future implications in the cancer clinic as an effective treatment for lung cancer.
What was completing your thesis like?
Completing my thesis was an intense process that required determination and perseverance. My thesis was the most difficult and complex project I have completed in college, and I could not have done it without the consistent help from my colleagues at Frederick National Laboratory and professors at Hood College. This study gave me valuable insight into the biological nature of lung cancer and taught me how to conduct science at a professional level.
How did Hood College prepare you for your upcoming studies at dental school?
Hood College provided me with a broad skill set. From various on-campus opportunities to my research experience at Frederick National Laboratory, my Hood College education has enhanced my academic and social skills.
Additionally, Reverend Beth O’Malley led me to discover the power of mindfulness and meditation, which will be an asset during my rigorous studies at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry.
Do you have a favorite memory or experience at Hood?
My favorite experience at Hood College was speaking at Commencement this year. However, many of my favorite memories were at various events on campus, including freshman orientation, Honor’s Convocation, the ring ceremony, orchestra/choir performances and the Graduate Degree Recipient Reception.
Any other information/fun facts you would like to add?
My mother Jacqui Kreh also spoke at her Hood College Commencement in 2010, so when the opportunity was presented to speak at the Class of 2022 Commencement, I could not pass it up. It was an enlightening experience to witness the similarities between my mother’s Hood College education 12 years ago and my own recent experiences at the College.