UMaine Today: Medical Fast Track
UMaine Today, Spring 2010
Medical fast track
Research a primary focus for two undergrads
[Juniors] Jonathan Pelletier, left, and Aaron Perreault were selected for early acceptance to Tufts University School of Medicine through the Maine Track Early Assurance Program.
University of Maine microbiology major Jonathan Pelletier of Falmouth, Maine, and biochemistry student Aaron Perreault of Northfield, N.H., have received early acceptance to Tufts University School of Medicine through the Maine Track Early Assurance Program. Born of a partnership between Tufts and Maine Medical Center, this new program reserves a limited number of slots per year for sophomores and juniors from Maine colleges and universities.
“It does speak to the fact that we are preparing students well for medical school,” says Robert Gundersen, chairman of UMaine’s Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences. “This lets (Jonathan and Aaron) approach the next two years focusing on what they need to learn, instead of all the other things they need to focus on in order to get into medical school.”
Though they will still need to complete their course requirements, Pelletier and Perreault can skip the MCATs and the rigorous application process.
At UMaine, Pelletier researches arsenic in relation to mast cells in Professor Julie Gosse’s lab. He is passionate about philanthropic medicine and plans to spend this summer volunteering at an orphanage in Peru.
Last summer, he received a Rezendes Global Services Scholarship from UMaine’s Honors College that allowed him to volunteer in a clinic in Pommern, Tanzania. Pelletier also will use the extra time afforded by Maine Track to pursue his passion for music.
Perreault works in Professor Carol Kim’s lab, where research focuses on developing a zebrafish model for studying cystic fibrosis. Perreault’s long-held interest in medicine was cemented by a presentation by UMaine [and Honors] alumnus and Nobel laureate Dr. Bernard Lown.
“When he came here, he really inspired me and showed me that this profession can be really rewarding and you can go a long way with it, as he’s done,” Perreault said.