After finishing his undergraduate education, Randall Platt was unsure of what area of bioengineering he wanted to pursue. After learning about the Whitaker International Fellows and Scholars Program, Randall applied, and subsequently completed one year of biomedical research while obtaining a Masters of Philosophy from Imperial College London in the United Kingdom. The Whitaker program stood out to Randall because the opportunities it provided informed his choices, enabled him to build an extensive network of colleagues and collaborators, and allowed him to accomplish another longstanding goal - living outside of the United States.
The culmination of Randall’s research was the discovery that beta-catenin, an important signaling molecule involved in cell growth and cancer, is regulated by the rigidity of the cellular environment. This project was the topic of his thesis titled “Investigating the Role of Substrate Stiffness on Beta-Catenin Activation in Osteoblasts.”
After his Whitaker Fellowship ended, Randall was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and an Afayan Fellowship from MIT – accomplishment that he feels were made easier by having the experience of the Whitaker grant. He is currently working towards his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the Department of Biological Engineering. After he graduates, Randall plans to further his academic career as a post-doctoral fellow and ultimately, a professor.
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