Winter 2020

Decoding disease

Brady Willette

Christine Chukwuocha has big ambitions: become a physician, do genetics research, and make a difference in her family’s native country, Nigeria.

A junior majoring in health science at the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR), she became interested in medicine while she was at Osseo High School. Chukwuocha says she wanted to get involved in genetics research when she saw the impact it could have on certain diseases. 

Through the connections between UMR and Mayo Clinic, she’s been able to explore that interest. Chukwuocha investigated genetic hearing loss as a part of Mayo’s Undergraduate Research Experience Program. After receiving an award from UMR’s Raptor Student Research Fund, she presented her work at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Indianapolis.

Chukwuocha plans to study osteopathic medicine and genetics after graduating, and eventually open a genetics research facility in Nigeria. 

“UMR has been a catalyst for my development as a young researcher and for me to make changes in global health,” says Chukwuocha, who also received the UMR Health CORE Scholarship. “The scholarships helped me realize that this is what I want to do.”