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Simon Accepted to Molecular Biophysics PhD Program

After venturing to a new country, a new school, a new soccer team, and a new University of St. Thomas bioinformatics academic program, Lukas Simon is not afraid to take on yet another challenge.

Simon will begin work on his doctorate at the Baylor College of Medicine Structural and Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics graduate research program in fall 2011. He is among the 328 undergraduate and 350 graduate students participating in the commencement ceremony on May 14 at Reliant Arena.

Simon came to the University of St. Thomas from Germany in 2007 to play for the inaugural men’s soccer team and to study bioinformatics, a newly emerged life science field composed of courses in biology, math and management information systems. 

Introduced in 2004, UST was among the first to offer bioinformatics at an undergraduate level. The major utilizes math and computer science to analyze and store information produced from genome and proteome projects. 

Graduates are prepared for entry-level positions in biotechnology firms, genome projects, the pharmaceutical industry or entry into professional or graduate schools. Several UST bioinformatics graduates now work at the genome sequencing center at the Baylor College of Medicine.

Simon said the bioinformatics program at UST has prepared him well for the doctoral program.  He credits the individual guidance he received from his professors, particularly Dr. Maia Larios-Sanz, assistant professor of biology and Dr. John Starner, associate professor of mathematics, for much of his success.

During his time at UST, Simon excelled both academically and athletically.  As an original member of the men’s soccer team, he served as the team captain for all four of his undergraduate years. He was a member of the Tri Beta Biological Honor Society, receiving their Outstanding Member award last year, and is one of the founding members of the UST Bioinformatics club.

Simon said he has no regrets about coming to UST as an international student.

“I would definitely recommend St. Thomas to international students,” said Simon. “It is easy to integrate into UST’s family-like community. There are a lot of activities, the campus is smaller, classes are smaller; you get to know people and I think you feel more at home.”

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The University of St. Thomas, dedicated to educating leaders of faith and character, is a private institution committed to the liberal arts and to the religious, ethical and intellectual tradition of Catholic higher education. St. Thomas is Houston’s only Catholic University and was founded by the Basilian Fathers in 1947.


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