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Andrew Millis ′11

Hometown: Hinsdale, IL
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Fun Fact: Andrew is a SCUBA Divemaster as well as a proficient archer who practices every Friday

You wrote a paper about prisoner organ donation, correct?
This paper emerged during my senior year in high school from a rhetoric class in which we had to write a paper about a controversial issue. Initially, I was interested in organ donation in China, and then I narrowed my topic to organ donation in America. When I started researching, I found that U.S. prisoners aren’t allowed to donate organs. I analyzed all the reasons why and wrote a paper as a general overview assessing the rights of prisoners.

Why prisoner organ donation?
My dad is a transplant surgeon so I’ve grown up learning a lot about organ procurement. Earlier that year, I attended the MacLean Conference for Ethics in Chicago, during which several physicians addressed the dire need for organs in this county. There is a great shortage; I believe the list is currently over one hundred thousand individuals waiting for an organ transplant. There’s really no end in sight.

How did your trip to China influence your research?
My dad and I traveled to China for what was intended to be a graduation gift. However, the trip turned into a catapult for getting my paper presented and eventually published. I was able to talk with the Vice-Minister of Health about the organ deficit problem, as well as my research paper. Much to my surprise, he really liked the paper, even quoting it in his speeches after our meeting. After that, I decided: I’m actually going to try and publish this. My work just progressed from there.

Why did you decide to major in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology?
When I considered the majors offered at Rhodes, Bio-Chem seemed to be the most applicable to what I want to do in the future. Due to¬†Professor Gordon Bigelow’s sincere interest and enthusiasm to help me, a trait that seems ever-present in the entire faculty at Rhodes, I was able to create an Independent Study to further my research during my freshman year at Rhodes. This work has resulted in presentations in Chicago, Canada, and Australia. The environment at Rhodes affords many opportunities to excel; however, it is up to the student to take advantage of them. I eventually want to pursue my PhD in either regenerative medicine or health policy. Ultimately, it would be really cool to be part of a project that helps grow a functional liver.

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