Freshman chemistry major Brandon Furr has wrapped up a four-month stint as the first UNC Charlotte intern in the In Vitro Sciences Laboratory at David H. Murdock Research Institute, having gained hands-on research experience and clarity about his future.
“As I am leaving my internship, I am definitely interested in exploring research further going into the future,” Furr said. “I know I would like to go into healthcare, probably pharmacy. I am currently in the process of applying to a couple of summer programs geared towards research and medical-healthcare to give me more exposure.”
After he completes his undergraduate studies, he plans to pursue graduate studies. Furr, a University Honors student, proved himself in the lab and picked up the tasks quickly, said his supervisor, Senior Research Associate Lisa Dewey.
“Brandon’s resume really spoke to us,” Dewey said. “He was a really strong student in high school, and has a really strong desire to learn about the industry.”
The lab provides biochemistry, biology, immunology and clinical chemistry services. Furr entered client samples and specimens, which include body fluids encompassing but not limited to blood, plasma, serum, urine, and cell culture supernatant into FreezerPro inventory management software.
“They needed a lot of help entering and sorting the different samples into their database,” Furr said.
“My internship ended on Dec. 19 at the end of the semester,” he said. “I learned a lot while I was at my internship. I basically had to learn the whole FreezerPro inventory management software that DHMRI uses to keep record of all their samples. I was surprised that I learned it so quickly because the software can be quite confusing and frustrating due to all the steps involved and the attention to detail.”
Furr also discovered how busy the institute and lab are, with a variety of projects and clients. Yet, amidst the bustling environment, he found the opportunity to work in a focused manner in a lab. As a self-described introvert, that appealed to him.
Majoring in chemistry with a concentration in medical technology, Furr has long been interested in research. He had graduated with honors in summer 2014 from Mt. Pleasant High School in Cabarrus County. During his time there, he took pharmacy technician classes and earned certification as a pharmacy technician.
“I’ve always been interested in drugs and how they interact with the body,” Furr said. “Working here teaches you analytical skills, and gives you a behind-the scenes look at everything that goes into research.”
Furr also is a recipient of the Jason Bonsall Promising Potential Scholarship at UNC Charlotte. This scholarship, founded in 2012-13 by UNC Charlotte student Jason Bonsall, supports a new freshman in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences whose full potential has yet to be realized as a result of financial restrictions, academic/learning challenges or both.
The David H. Murdock Research Institute is located on the NC Research Campus in Kannapolis. The institute provides a multidisciplinary approach integrating genomics, analytical sciences, cellular sciences and bioinformatics to accelerate research and development of companies, institutions and researchers throughout the world as well as the NCRC’s university, corporate and healthcare partners.
Words: Seth Allen, Student Communications Assistant
Image of Brandon Furr in UNC Charlotte lab: Lynn Roberson, College Communications Director