Joe Navratil

Where did you transfer from?

St. Cloud State University

Why did you want to come to the University?

I transferred to the University of Minnesota to challenge myself academically, as well as to gain access to more research opportunities in the life sciences.

What are you researching?

We are doing research on a myogenic factor called MyoD, which has been shown to be involved in muscle regeneration in leg muscle. The unique part our project is that we are looking at MyoD's role in extraocular muscle regeneration. This project intrigued me because of my plans of going into medicine and possibly becoming an eye surgeon. Vision is so important for everyone to function on a daily basis and if I can help, even a little bit, to advance eye care it would be such a rewarding experience.

What have you gotten out of this experience?

I intend to build a network that will be able to assist me through my remaining years as an undergraduate and into medical school. As far as what I have learned, the list is endless. I have learned a lot about myself including how much I enjoy working at the bench. I also have learned tons and tons about the anatomy/physiology of extraocular muscles. Overall, the effect this experience has had on me thus far has been tremendous and I can’t wait to see what will come from this research during the remainder of the semester and beyond!

What are your interests outside of school?

One of my biggest hobbies is playing golf.

Do you participate in extracurricular activities?

I am an active volunteer at the Senior Care Center at Ebenezer in Minneapolis. I do one-on-one visits with the residents and get to brighten their day, while also learning a lot. I am also an original board member of a group I helped start up called Community Health Initiative Students – Minnesota, that works to improve healthcare in Haiti.

What are your plans for the future?

My future goal is to go to medical school where I plan to specialize in ophthalmology, anesthesiology, or orthopedic surgery. Right now, I plan to focus my studies on microbiology and minor in pharmacology. Aside from academics, I really hope I am able to participate in a couple trips to Haiti with my student group.

Back to HHMI research mentor program