Graduate Student Focus | Blair Kreh
"Every time I entered a class or lab, I felt inspired to learn. Adapting to an energetic and diverse environment taught me an important life lesson that growth is not necessarily a result of what you learn but how you learn. As I now approach the end of my master’s degree program, I am even more grateful for every professor—biology, chemistry and physics—who helped guide me through my journey at Hood College."
Blair Kreh, Biomedical Science M.S.
- Biomedical Science (M.S.)
- 4PLUS Biology (B.A.)/Biomedical Science (M.S.) Program
Blair Kreh is a current graduate student in the biomedical science M.S. program at Hood College. Kreh also completed his undergraduate studies at Hood College, graduating with a B.S. in biology. He was enrolled in the 4PLUS dual-degree program, which allows Hood students to earn both their bachelor's and master's degree in four or more years.
Kreh is currently pursing his thesis research at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.
Tell us about your educational and career background.
Prior to matriculating at Hood College, I acquired three years of clinical experience working at a long-term care and rehabilitation facility as a geriatric nursing assistant. I stepped away from the clinical setting upon entering college and embarked on an internship, where I pursued cutting-edge research on therapeutics for lung cancer at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research.
Since then, my internship as a program trainee has turned into a position as a research technician, where I am currently assessing the pharmacokinetics and anti-tumor effects of novel retinoid agonists (vitamin A derivatives) in vivo.
I recently graduated from Hood College, class of 2021, with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology and a minor in chemistry, and I plan to graduate next spring with a Master of Science in Biomedical Science. After graduating with my master’s, I aspire to enroll in dental school, conduct biomedical research that focuses on dental medicine and acquire the professional licensure of a dentist.
Why did you choose Hood College and this program?
As an undergraduate student at Hood College, I had the opportunity to pursue a combined bachelor’s and master’s degree program within five years. Towards the end of my freshman year, a biology professor mentioned the program to me. Knowing that I had intentions to enroll in a health-related professional school after college, this professor understood the value of committing to a master’s thesis project and suggested that I consider the program.
When I approached the final semester of my senior year, I registered for three graduate courses, and I transferred into the program the following semester with nine credits. Earning two degrees within five years, establishing a network with colleagues in the field and ensuring that I had a secure job after school were all redeeming qualities that helped solidify my decision to enter a master’s degree program at Hood College.
What do you enjoy most about being at Hood College?
My favorite aspect of Hood College is the atmosphere. I realized early in my education, as a first-year biology student, that your environment is the driving force of evolution. All of the meaningful connections I have cultivated with faculty, staff, and students were a result of my decision to attend a school that prioritized creativity.
Every time I entered a class or lab, I felt inspired to learn. Adapting to an energetic and diverse environment taught me an important life lesson that growth is not necessarily a result of what you learn but how you learn. As I now approach the end of my master’s degree program, I am even more grateful for every professor—biology, chemistry and physics—who helped guide me through my journey at Hood College.
Tell us about your thesis work at the Frederick National Lab.
I began my training at the Frederick National Laboratory as a program trainee in the molecular pharmacology program. During this summer internship, I gained rigorous training in cell culture and molecular biology techniques. After returning from pandemic restrictions, I employed those techniques to conduct my undergraduate capstone project, which investigated the effects of various agonists of retinoic acid receptors (RARs) on proliferation and gene expression in human and murine (rodent) lung cancer cell lines.
For my master’s thesis, I am currently assessing the pharmacokinetics and anti-tumor effects of a novel retinoid agonist in murine models. My thesis work will explore three specific aims.
The first aim of my work investigates a possible metabolite of an RAR-γ selective agonist using a murine model. The second aim examines the anti-tumor effects of that same compound with immune checkpoint inhibition using a murine syngeneic lung cancer model. The third aim of my thesis explores a mechanism associated with the anti-tumor immune responses in lung cancer models.