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Serving at the intersection of clinical medicine and laboratory research
Jared Beyersdorf

Seeing his mother’s experience as a pediatric physical therapist led to Jared Beyersdorf’s interest in medicine. Now he graduates from the School of Medicine’s joint MD/PhD program with plans to become a physician-scientist.

Jared Beyersdorf was inspired to pursue medicine after seeing his mother’s experience as a pediatric physical therapist. He saw the difference new technologies made in patients’ lives and was excited about the possibilities future science might bring.  

He began that journey by earning his bachelor’s degree in biological systems engineering from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As an undergraduate, he served as president of the Nebraska chapter of Engineers Without Borders, working with a community in Madagascar on long-term engineering projects to improve local water infrastructure. He also was deeply involved with undergraduate research at his institution and participated in summer fellowships at Rice University and the Wake Forest Regenerative Medicine Institute. 

During these research excursions, Beyersdorf learned about the joint MD/PhD career path.  

“I always thought I had to pick medicine or science,” he says. “I was intrigued by the possibility of pursuing training in both and began shadowing physician-scientists in different specialties to see what it looked like to work as a physician-scientist and balance both worlds.”  

Emory’s partnership with Georgia Tech stood out to him because it offered the opportunity to train at the intersection of engineering and medicine.  

“I was looking for an MD/PhD program that had a strong engineering department coupled with exceptional clinical training,” he says. “Emory stood out in both respects. I decided to come to Emory for these reasons and because the students were genuinely happy and welcoming.” 

Match Day on March 15 revealed that Beyersdorf will continue his training in pathology at Mass General Brigham in Massachusetts.

“My goal is to become an academic physician-scientist serving patients as a pathologist and running a research lab focusing on developing and understanding the next generation of mRNA-based therapeutics,” he says. 
Beyersdorf’s PhD research focused on the study of mRNA therapeutics and lipid nanoparticles for a variety of clinical purposes, including nerve agent prophylaxis. Phil Santangelo, professor in the Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering at Emory and Georgia Tech, was Beyersdorf’s advisor for his dissertation, “Development of an mRNA-based Prophylactic for Protection Against Nerve Agent Toxicity.”  

To date, Beyersdorf’s PhD research has resulted in seven publications — including two as first author — along with oral presentations at five conferences at the regional and national levels. 
During his time at Emory, Beyersdorf also helped mentor community members. He was involved with Emory’s Health Career Academy, the American Physician Scientist Association and the Emory Pipeline Collaborative. These programs connect high school and undergraduate students with mentors who provide guidance on pursuing careers in medicine.  

His enthusiasm for advocacy led him to serve as a co-investigator on a grant to expand the Atlanta Interprofessional Student Hotspotting (AISH) Group. This group helps address health disparities for patients at Grady Diabetes Treatment Center. He continues to serve as an individual team leader within AISH.  
As Beyersdorf considers his myriad accomplishments, he is struck by how important milestones in his life at Emory led him to find his true passion for pathology.  

“Throughout medical school, I saw firsthand how much uncertainty there is in the journey for so many patients and families and how hard that can be. I was drawn to pathology as a field where my meticulous nature would be rewarded and I could work to reduce uncertainty in medicine.”

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