Computing Power

At Widener, computer science major Abhay Aradhya ’18 brought his skills to research projects on climate change, cancer treatment, and genomics – all preparing him for a career as a physician-scientist.

Student in lab working on device with petri dish
Abhay Aradhya
Class of 2018
Computer Science
  • College of Arts & Sciences
Career Plan: Physician-Scientist

When he entered Widener as a pre-med student, Abhay Aradhya ’18 took the somewhat unusual route of majoring in computer science

Abhay loved building and programming computers and thought the major would help him diversify his skills and make him a more effective researcher.

He was right.

At Widener, Abhay had the opportunity to get involved in numerous research projects tackling some big issues within the biology, environmental science, biochemistry, and engineering fields. The experiences equipped him for a post-baccalaureate research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and are preparing him for a future as a physician-scientist. 

Working on different projects at Widener taught me how to think on my feet. It taught me how to not leap before I think, but to leap while also thinking. — Abhay Aradhya ’18

Today, Abhay is at the Rowan University School of Osteopathic Medicine pursuing his medical degree. He aspires to be an oncologist, treating patients and continuing cancer research.

Crunching Climate Data

When environmental science and biology Professor Stephen Madigosky needed help managing 25 years of climate data collected in Peru’s Amazon rainforest, Abhay stepped in and helped build him a computer server. Madigosky’s data could help shed light on climate change, and the importance of the work is not lost on Abhay: “To be involved in something like that is mind-blowing. I worked on that project because of stuff I’d done for fun. But it was validating. I had practical uses for my skills and was not just tapping away at a keyboard in a vacuum.”

Inspiring a Career Path

Abhay also brought his computer skills to chemical engineering Professor Sachin Patil’s lab, where student-faculty teams research immunotherapy, looking at using FDA-approved drugs already on the market to treat cancer. Abhay’s work in the lab inspired him to pursue oncology as his medical specialty: “Working with Dr. Patil was a huge influence on me.”

From Widener to the NIH

Working with chemistry and biochemistry Professor Alexis Nagengast, Abhay gained experience in bioinformatics and genomics, skills he transferred to his work at the NIH. There, among some of the nation’s top scientists, he conducted research into Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome, a genetic overgrowth condition. Abhay worked on establishing zebrafish as a model to study the epigenetics of the disorder.

Career Plan: Physician-Scientist

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