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Jackie Boran is sitting at a lab bench next to a microscope in front of scientific posters. She is wearing her hair straight, with a dark blazer and white shirt.

Jackie Boran '17



Outcome Opportunity:

Graduate/Professional School


Dental Student


University Of Pittsburgh School Of Dental Medicine

Following a Passion for Science to Dental School

Jackie Boran ‘17 decided to pursue a career in dentistry because “it combines my passion for science with my desire to serve others,” she says. At SJU, Jackie worked as an undergraduate researcher in an SJU microscopic roundworm lab, volunteered as a Community Partnership Coordinator at West Catholic High School, and served as the Vice President of Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Health Professional Honor Society.

Summer Scholar Experience

Under the guidance of Matthew Nelson, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, Jackie was a member of the research team that looked at the quiescent, sleep-like behaviors in the round worm Caenorhabditis elegans. “During sleep, animals become quiescent,” says Nelson, “which means that they stop performing activities that they would normally carry out when they are awake, such as moving and feeding. Many of the genes that control the worm’s behavior also control mammalian behavior, and by studying C. elegans, we hope to further our understanding of how sleep is regulated in humans.”

How Did Your SJU Education Shape Your Career Goals?

“Through weekly service and immersion trips, my understanding of Catholic social teachings as well as my faith has grown. Through research faculty mentorships, science and liberal arts classes, I have been challenged to think critically and analytically.”