Pre-Med Biology Major Aims for the Heart
Troy Bassiri, senior pre-med biology major at the University of St. Thomas, wants to be a cardiologist. It is a challenging journey that includes 11 more years of schooling, but Bassiri is dedicated to his vocation. His journey is leading toward four years of medical school, a four-year residency, and a three-year fellowship, to specialize in cardiology. While this scholarly pursuit may frighten most people, Bassiri is genuinely excited to continue learning.
“Becoming a cardiologist will take a long time, but I believe if I stay focused on my goals then my hard work will be rewarded,” Bassiri said. “The challenging work will seem more entertaining and fulfilling as I begin to apply my education to the patients I treat.”
Bassiri realized his passion for the medical field in high school during a Health Science Technology class. After taking several medical science courses and obtaining an EMT license, Bassiri solidified his decision to enter the medical field and began searching for a strong collegiate pre-med program.
He first heard about UST through his sister, Heidi, who attended the University. After hearing about UST’s challenging pre-med program and his opportunity to take classes in other disciplines, Bassiri decided to attend.
“I chose the pre-med program here because I felt that UST would help me to achieve my goals,” Bassiri said. “The professors here want you to succeed and you don’t want to let them down. You really want to do the best you can.”
Undergraduate Research Teaches Valuable Research Skills
Bassiri flourished on campus, being afforded opportunities to study protein interactions in undergraduate research with Dr. Albert Ribes-Zamora, assistant professor of biology. The research focuses on how proteins interact within the human body, and by introducing mutations of specific amino acids, Bassiri studies how the interactions are affected. By understanding how these interactions occur, the information could be applied to pharmaceuticals to increase the affectivity of radiation therapy.
Internships offer real-world experience
Bassiri has also been fortunate to secure internships with the Cardiology Department at the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic and the Texas Heart Institute at St. Luke’s Hospital. His duties within these internships have ranged from conducting research to promoting patient education.
“One of the most important things I learned during my internships was that many patients simply are not educated on how to live a healthy lifestyle,” Bassiri said. “Often times, they were just unaware of the actions that led to their conditions or there was a pre-existing genetic factor that they could not prevent that led to their illness.”
Faith and Medicine
Bassiri says his Catholic faith is an important aspect of his studies and application of medicine. His faith has helped him to stay strong and optimistic in difficult times and has helped him to maintain his integrity as a professional.
“I feel that with the technological advances that will occur, a strong sense of spirituality is what will help practitioners maintain a strong ethical grounding to administer the highest degree of care,” Bassiri said.
“The theology and philosophy classes I have taken in addition to my biology classes have definitely helped me understand the ethical applications of medicine and patient care.”
Bassiri is looking forward to hearing about his acceptance into medical school in early February.