Jonathan Schall

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Jonathan Schall is a senior Biology major who aspires to be a medical doctor. He is Treasurer of the Health Professions Organization, and a member of the Honors Program, Biology Club, Scranton Neuroscience Society, and the Knights of Columbus. He also works in the Campus Ministries office. An interest in the nervous system led Jonathan to participate in the Faculty Student Research Program in the laboratory of Dr. George Gomez. After learning some techniques and procedures used in the lab, he was encouraged to synthesize his own research interests into a formal research proposal, and he was awarded a President’s Fellowship for Summer Research in 2012.
Jonathan’s research investigates the role and influence of polyunsaturated fatty acids, phospholipids, and the retinal pigment epithelium on the protection of retinal neurons against oxidative stress-induced damage. He uses the embryonic chick as model, harvesting retinal tissue, growing it in culture, supplementing these cell cultures with various lipids, and subsequently exposing them to oxidative stressors. Jonathan then employs immunocytochemical techniques to assess the effects of these treatments on the growth and survival of photoreceptors and other retinal neurons.
While Jonathan values his research project because of his personal interest in the topic, he most appreciates what research has taught him about critical thinking and the process behind scientific inquiry. Schall says that “Research has challenged me to troubleshoot and to apply my cumulative scientific knowledge in a way few other activities have. Continually asking ‘why’ and ‘how’ and enthusiastically seeking answers to those questions have translated into my other academic pursuits and made me a more conscientious student.” As a future physician who will have to constantly call upon the latest scientific advancements to enact effective treatments for his patients, Schall has gained a much greater appreciation for the hard work that goes into every research study and scientific publication.
Jonathan offers this advice to students, “Explore doing research as an opportunity to study a topic of personal interest in much greater depth and a way to participate in science, rather than just being a bystander. You’ll challenge and surprise yourself in exciting ways.”