April 2011

Kevin Bonham

Graduate student
Harvard University

Can you give some background on yourself and your research?
I earned a bachelor of science in biochemistry and cell biology, with a minor in the study of religion, from the University of California, San Diego. While I was there, I did research in Raffi Aroian’s lab, looking for novel pore forming toxins produced by the soil bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis. After I graduated, I worked with Kerri Mowen at the Scripps Research Institute for two years, studying the role of arginine methylation on T-cell activation. Currently, I am a doctoral candidate at Harvard and work in Jon Kagan’s lab studying the signaling cascade downstream of Toll-like receptors. After graduation, I plan to pursue a career in science education and/or science policy.

What did you expect from your participation in our Congressional visits program?
It’s hard to know what to expect from Hill Day. Ideally, I would love to inspire my representatives to be as excited about science as I am, but I know that’s unlikely. Mostly, I wanted to be able to demonstrate why funding science is important, and why science-based policy is important. For myself, I hoped to get an impression of the challenges facing scientists interacting with congress, and get experience educating people in that context – i.e., educating as advocacy rather than in the teacher-student context.



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