After graduating from George Mason University, Thomas joined the lab at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research as an intern. A couple of months later, he started in a full-time position with GDIT. Thomas’s role as an Associate Scientist has him testing drugs to help discover therapeutics to combat infectious diseases.
“Being able to work on a project that focuses on supporting our military and civilians here in the United States and around the world is humbling.”
Finding direction when there isn’t a path. My team owns it.
I work in the experimental therapeutics branch of the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. They have a rich history of drug development and discovery so it’s invigorating to work with the team here. On a day-to-day basis, I’m in the lab using what’s called a liquid handling robot. It’s a very large robot that helps us formulate drugs and test them against multi-resistant strains of bacteria. A lot of these strains come from wounds and infections from soldiers who are in the field.
The institute is leading an inter-governmental wide effort to combat antimicrobial resistant bacteria. We’re working to find therapeutics that can combat this bacteria, both for the military and civilians.
A visit from a brigadier general.
A brigadier general recently came to tour the lab to see how the work we’re doing is supporting the military. He brought along a group of high ranking individuals. We showed him the robot in action and shared some of the success we’ve had.
I’ve never been around anyone that high ranking in person before. Having them in the lab and getting a pat on the back for the work we’re doing was really exciting.
Presenting his team’s work.
The thing I’m most proud of is presenting at the Military Health System Research Symposium. I was selected out of everyone in my branch to share the work we’re doing with the liquid handling robot and discuss the drug discovery methods we’re using.
Presenting at the conference was a life-changing experience. I presented our department to hundreds of people who are high ranking individuals in the military as well as high profile doctors. GDIT put their trust in me and it made me feel like the work I’m doing is revolutionary. I’ve never given an oral presentation at a conference before or been given that many responsibilities in a job. It made me feel like I was part of something bigger than myself.