Brandon Metcalf ’06 spent more time in the College’s aquatic research lab than aboard a fishing boat on the Chester River, but he scared his share of rockfish. His senior research project examined the behavioral and biochemical effects of Malathion on the striped bass. After briefly exposing the fish to very low doses of pesticides, Brandon says, he saw significant effects on their ability to learn.
His senior project combined Brandon’s interests in biology and behavioral neuroscience, and was inspired by the College’s proximity to the Chesapeake Bay. Concerned about the health of one of the world’s richest estuaries, many Washington College students are motivated to investigate the effects of pollutants on the Bay’s marine life.
With a double major in biology and psychology, as well as some independent research experience investigating Rett Syndrome at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Brandon was an attractive candidate for medical school.
“Washington College really had prepared me well for medical school,” recalls Brandon. “I had great mentors in both biology and psychology who helped build my interest in research and medicine.” He says the Cater Society of Junior Fellows, which funded his participation in a medical missionary trip to Costa Rica and Nicaragua, solidified his interest in a medical career.
Six years after his graduation from Washington College, Brandon holds a Master in Public Health degree from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a medical degree from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Next up: a three-year residency program in ophthalmology at the University of Wisconsin.
Brandon has chosen to specialize in a field that combines his interests in medicine, diagnosis and surgery.
“One of my first rotations in med school was neurology,” he recalls. “We had a patient who had been seeing doctors for two years but no one could tell her what was wrong. When she was hospitalized, she was given an eye exam. Those findings pointed to a diagnosis of MS [multiple sclerosis]. That early case in my career helped me understand the importance of the eyes and the significance of a proper eye exam. We were able to give her a diagnosis and prognosis, and prescribe treatment.”
When Brandon did his rotation in ophthalmology, he says, “I loved everything about it. I like the idea that I can have longitudinal relationships with my patients.”