Thomas Gerton '23 on opportunities in biotechnology

Tuesday, December 15, 2020
Thomas Gerton '23, biotechnology major, works in the lab at UNH Manchester

Biotechnology student Thomas Gerton '23 has always had an innate curiosity—and through the application of science, he's found the answer to many questions he's had about the universe and our mark on it.

"With each question I answer, two more questions take its place, which feeds my never-ending quest for knowledge," Gerton says. "Through biotechnology, I'm fascinated by how robots will potentially be able to 3D print complex human organs within my lifetime. That's something I know I want to be a part of."

Gerton is part of UNH Manchester’s Millyard Scholars Program, which provides scholarships and research opportunities to exceptional incoming freshmen in the college's biotechnology and engineering technology programs. From unique lab experiences to a tour of the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, which is creating an industry to regenerate human tissue and organs right down the street from UNH Manchester, he says he's had unparalleled opportunities as  a Millyard Scholar.

"Getting to experience how these cutting-edge technologies are being developed in our backyard has further cemented the fact that I wish to play a role in these advancements that would benefit humankind," Gerton says.

In addition to gaining research and collaboration skills in UNH Manchester's on-campus labs, Gerton has put his learning into action as an intern at Advanced Solutions, which designs and manufactures robotic and vascular platforms for building human tissues. 

"A normal day for me is spending many hours in the lab. Currently, I'm working on designing a DNA extraction protocol for rat tissues, which I can confirm has worked thus far," Gerton says. "As an intern, I also do the traditional maintenance to keep the lab up and running properly—a fair  trade-off for getting to do some serious science."

Gerton hopes to become a doctor, although he's considering new career paths with the experiences he's had at UNH Manchester.

"When I initially came to college, I thought I wanted to get a medical license. However, being a Millyard Scholar has opened my eyes to what research is truly like in a professional setting, which may be something I would like to pursue as a future career," Gerton says.

With Manchester being New Hampshire's burgeoning hub for the biotech, pharma and medtech fields, Gerton encourages students with an interest in science to consider becoming a Millyard Scholar.

"The Millyard Scholars Program has provided many amazing opportunities that I don't htink I would have had if I followed a more traditional college path," Gerton says. "Through my research experiences, I've learned valuable skills for working in a professional lab."

UNH Manchester's Millyard Scholars Program is accepting applications for fall 2021 cohorts to the biotechnology, electrical engineering technology and mechanical engineering technology programs.