Discovery Spotlight

Madi Worden, M.S. ACPHS Class of 2017

Madeline Worden '17 Master's in Molecular Biosciences

As an undergraduate, Madeline (Madi) Worden worked with dentists and hygienists during an overseas medical mission. The experience inspired her to make plans to attend dental school. And then fate intervened.

Madi sat in on a presentation by ACPHS Dean of Graduate Studies Martha Hass, who piqued her interest in the College. Dean Hass gave her a personal tour of the campus and Madi quickly found a home in the College’s master’s program in molecular biosciences.

Madi had taken biology exploratory and capstone courses in college, and she viewed the molecular biosciences program as not only an opportunity to pursue an area of interest but also a chance to strengthen her standing as a prospective dental school applicant.

Of her ACPHS experience, Madi says, “The size of this school makes it easy to get to know people well” and close relationships with professors “make me want to do my best” and mean help and support are available when needed.

Dr. Meenakshi Malik is Madi’s research mentor. They’re studying a deadly bacterium and the genes it uses to resist host defenses. The Centers for Disease Control has classified this bacterium as a potential weapon of bioterrorism. Targeting the right gene could disable it, meaning this research may one day have implications for our national defense.

While Madi is still planning to apply to dental schools following her 2017 graduation, she is leaving her options open, as the roles of researcher, medical device sales agent, and pharmaceutical drug representative also appeal to her. “I know my ACPHS education will give me the ability to succeed in whichever path I choose to pursue,” she says.