Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of California, San Diego
San Diego, California
Class of 2008, Chemistry and Biochemistry majors
As a postdoctoral researcher studying Alzheimer’s disease in Shankar Subramaniam’s lab in the Department of Bioengineering at UCSD, Caldwell investigates the mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease and potential therapeutics, using bioinformatics analysis techniques and a systems biology approach. His work involves taking large data sets generated through collaborations across multiple research labs at UCSD and analyzing them and determining how new novel therapeutics being developed at UCSD can target these mechanisms.
How does your time at SPU connect to what you’re doing today?
As a chemisty and biochemistry student at SPU, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to be involved in multiple undergraduate research projects. Those experiences ignited within me a desire to continue scientific research after leaving SPU — which led me receiving a PhD studying biochemistry and immunology, and finally researching Alzheimer’s disease today.
Which SPU faculty or staff member made a difference in your education?
During my time at SPU, Dr. Ben McFarland was particularly influential in my life, both as a professor and my research advisor for my UScholars Honors project. He taught me valuable skills in the lab, but more importantly modeled for me how someone can faithfully follow Jesus and be a committed scientist; that earnest love of God and desire to seek out God’s truth in the natural world has stuck with me and shaped how I think of myself as a scientist both in the scientific community and my church.
What advice would you give to current SPU students?
Take as many classes outside of your major as you can! They’ll help you understand issues from different perspectives and inform how you see the world. The Christian Scriptures course I took my junior year with Dr. Rob Wall was one of the most influential courses of my time at SPU — and perhaps my only regret is that I didn’t take more.