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My MCW Story: Dominique Carter-Flowers

She had a love for science when she was young and never stopped pursuing it.

Dominique Carter-Flowers realized she had a love for science when she was a young girl and never stopped pursuing it as a career. It hasn’t always been smooth sailing, but she refused to ever give up.

“I hope people can use my graduate school experience as an example of never giving up on your dreams,” Dominique said. “In spite of every obstacle, naysayer, or act of discrimination, I never gave up on my goals or compromised my integrity or who I am as a person. I am very proud of that.”

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Dominique is completing her graduate studies in the laboratory of Scott Terhune, PhD, in the Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics. She is studying human cytomegalovirus, a member of the herpesvirus family and a leading cause of congenital birth defects worldwide. The virus hijacks cellular processes in order to establish a chronic infection that, while often asymptomatic in normal, healthy immunocompetent individuals, can lead to serious health problems when the immune system is compromised. She utilized protein-based mass spectrometry to detect HCMV-mediated changes to the host cellular protein environment during early infection in order to identify cellular processes that could be targeted to inhibit infection.

Dominique was drawn to MCW while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in chemistry at St. Norbert’s College in Green Bay. After participating in several summer research internships, she developed an interest in biomedical research and Dr. Russ Feirer, a faculty mentor, recommended she apply to MCW’s Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in Biomedical Sciences. (Dr. Feirer is now an adjunct faculty member at MCW-Green Bay.) It is a decision she doesn’t regret.

“During my time at MCW, I have been fortunate to meet to meet some really amazing people, many of whom have served as a support system for me during my graduate tenure. These individuals have contributed to my growth and development as a student,” Dominique said. “I am very grateful for the personal and professional relationships I have developed at MCW.”

Dominique was recently honored for her efforts – which include a manuscript published in Proteomics in June 2015 – by being named the first recipient of the Friends of the Medical College of Wisconsin Graduate Student Minority Scholarship.

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