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Program Directors:

Mailing Address:

Siebel Scholars Foundation
1300 Seaport Blvd., Suite 400
Redwood City, CA 94063

Phone:

(650) 299-5260

2011 - Lucas Smith

As an Air Force officer, Lucas Smith coordinated operational logistics to deploy thousands of troops and tons of cargo out of Washington state’s McChord Air Force Base.  As a Ph.D. candidate in Bioengineering at UC San Diego, he applies similar leadership, teamwork, and problem-solving skills to his “bench to bedside” research on cerebral palsy muscles to translate his lab work into patient therapies.

Lucas is developing therapeutic targets in order to design a novel drug therapy for cerebral palsy.  Through UCSD’s “Med-into-Grad” program, he works in collaboration with the Rady Children’s Hospital, and interacts with patients and families to learn first-hand what problems they’re facing in order to address them in the lab.  Based on his conversations with cerebral palsy patients, Lucas decided to research treatments to address their concerns about the impact that periodic spasms have on their mobility, rather than researching the root cause of the spasms themselves.  He obtains muscle biopsy samples from patients at the Children’s Hospital to measure single cell mechanics, determine which genes regulate different muscles, how they adapt to neurological inputs, and why they react in certain ways.
 
After completing his Ph.D. program, Lucas plans to continue his academic research in a post-doctoral position in muscle physiology.  Future plans also include his spring 2011 wedding to fiancée Lindsay, a medical student. 
 
Lucas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering from the University of Washington.