After majoring in biochemistry, Bobby Keskey ’11 went on to graduate with honors from the Medical School at the University of Louisville.
He’s in general surgery residency at the University of Chicago now, conducting microbiome research as he pursues a Ph.D. in immunology.
Keskey has earned two degrees in the sciences and is working on a third. He returned to campus recently to speak with students about his journey.
Why Study the Sciences?
Keskey addressed why he’s still interested in the basic sciences after all this time.
“The biggest thing is improving care for my patients,” he told students.
“I think one of the big upsides to medicine is that we’re constantly working to improve care. There’s a lot of things that we can take care of and fix that keep getting better, but there’s also a downside to medicine of things tend to be a little bit slow as far as what we change and what we can change.
“There’s a gap that needs to be fixed, and translational research is really important.”
Keskey spoke about his research too, talking about the microbiome in post-operative infection and sepsis. Sepsis is an extreme response to infection and can result in issues like organ failure.
“At the end of the day, we can’t explain why this happens, and that’s what I’m attempting to do. It’s a big problem,” he said. “In this day and age, the mortality rate of sepsis is 25%. There’s not a whole lot in medicine that the mortality rate is that high.”
Solve Real-World Problems
In his research, Keskey is examining the community of bacteria that live within the intestines to understand how the bacteria are changing. He’s also looking at how patients recover after infection and surgery.
“It was wonderful to host Dr. Keskey on campus to present his research,” said Dr. Stuart Gordon, assistant professor of biology and chair of the Department of Biology.
“He gave an excellent talk that engaged students and faculty alike. He continues to use his talents to serve others and is truly making a positive impact in his profession by researching serious problems such as post-surgical complications in patients. We are grateful to him for taking the time to visit PC.”
“A Unique Experience”
When he was a PC student, Keskey spent time in the summers working in a surgical research lab in Kentucky back home. He says the experience propelled him to the medical field and, ultimately, to a career in surgery.
“I think it was a unique experience for me where I was developing those critical thinking tools and really, basic laboratory techniques while I was at school at PC,” Keskey said. “And then I’d go home for the summers and work at a surgical research lab in Louisville under Dr. Hiram Polk and Dr. William Cheadle.”
“They kind of really fueled my desire to go into medicine, but again, the success I had in those laboratories in the summer, I think, is really a lot due to the experience at PC I was having throughout the year.”
Prepare for a Career in Medicine
The biochemistry major prepared Bobby for a career in medicine. Check out the Academic Pages of the website to learn more about science-related majors at PC, like the computational biology major.