Elisabeth MacColl ’16

Elisabeth MacColl ’16 is on a career path that fortuitously started with a Cellular Neurobiology class she took at Hamilton with Professor of Biology Herm Lehman. The latest outcome is her publication of a paper in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics. The paper, “Matrix Metalloproteinases as Regulators of Vein Structure and Function Implications in Chronic Venous Disease,” was written by MacColl and the PI Dr. Raouf A. Khalil of Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.

MacColl interned at Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women's Hospital for 10 weeks in 2014 and received support through the Jeffrey Fund in Science managed by the Career Center. A biology major at Hamilton, she was selected as a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar in 2014. The Goldwater is the premier national undergraduate award in the fields of mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

MacColl credits her enrollment in the Cellular Neurobiology class in the fall 2013 with putting her on this path. “One of the assignments was to write a mock grant proposal,” she recalled. “I was interested in varicose veins due to family history, so I wrote my grant proposal about varicose veins and MMP proteins. While I was writing the grant I thought it would be an incredible opportunity to do real research related to my grant, so I decided to e-mail the person who I had cited the most in my paper and asked to do research in his lab,” MacColl explained.

She said that person put her in contact with his PI, Dr. Khalil, at Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital.  Khalil’s lab is in the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. “He offered me a spot in the lab for the summer to start a project regarding Matrix Metalloproteinases (MMPs) and varicose veins (VVs),” said MacColl. “The project was to write a comprehensive literature review about MMPs and VVs. It covers MMP structure and function, the structural and functional abnormalities of VVs, MMPs’ roles in VVs, VV management, and MMP Inhibitors' roles in VVs, she explained.

Writing the paper included of research, data analysis, and figure and table design. “It was a really cool experience to jump in without a ton of knowledge but to have to become an expert by reading a lot to the point where I not only understood all of the information but could also put it together and report it to others in the review,” MacColl recalled.

The review can currently be found under "Fast Forward" articles (until the next edition of the journal comes out) on the journal’s website and can be downloaded free.

MacColl is the daughter of Mary and N.A. (Scott) MacColl of Jenkintown, Pa., and  a graduate of Abington (Pa.) High School.

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