Rufus Banks

Why did you choose BioSci?

I chose Dunlop School because it perfectly balances all my interests. During my time at UCI, through meeting faculty and fellow students, I’ve come to realize that Dunlop School not only emphasizes academic success but also personal growth and success.

Tell us about your research.

My research project focuses on finding the best ways to treat breast cancer patients with radiation. I look at different factors such as biomarkers and cellular signaling to understand how they affect patient outcomes. The goal is to use this information to create more personalized and efficient treatments based on each patient’s characteristics and the type of breast cancer they have.

What accomplishments are you most proud of?

I’m proud to be the first author of a pending case report titled ‘Metastatic Pilomatrix Carcinoma Treated with Radiation: A Case Report of Radioresistance.’ In this report, I shared insights about a rare cancer and its response to radiation. I feel proud because I get to contribute knowledge to the medical world about something I am passionate about, hoping it helps others who may deal with this cancer in the future.

Can you speak to the importance of diversity and representation in the biological sciences?

I believe it’s crucial to have diversity in the biological sciences because it inspires those who may doubt themselves. In this field, there’s no specific ‘look’ that defines success. What matters most is dedication and hard work. When people from different backgrounds see that, it breaks stereotypes and shows that anyone can succeed in science, fostering an inclusive and equal community.

What advice would you give to young black students interested in pursuing a career in the sciences?

In a field with a history of underserving us, change is needed from the inside out. Being black in a historically challenging field isn’t a reason to stay away; it’s a call to be more involved. Chase your dreams and passions without letting anyone doubt your capabilities because, in reality, one day you will succeed.

Can you tell us about a role model or mentor who has been influential in your career as a scientist?

My sister. She’s the one who taught me that if I believe in myself, I can achieve anything. I’ve seen her work incredibly hard, and she’s always encouraged me to go after my goals with everything I have, no matter what the result might be.

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