Profile: Terrence Dobrowsky, PhD student

Terrence Dobrowsky has his hands full working in two labs at Johns Hopkins: Denis Wirtz (chemical and biomolecular engineering) and Robert Siliciano (rheumatology and molecular biology and genetics). Dobrowsky moves between the East Baltimore and Homewood campuses in order to investigate binding kinetics for HIV envelope proteins in living cells.

After completing an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering at Notre Dame, Dobrowsky chose to pursue his PhD in chemical and biomolecular engineering at Hopkins to explore research connections between engineering and biology.

“In the past five years, universities around the country have renamed their departments ‘chemical and biological engineering’ but I found that many of them are not really doing bioengineering,“ he says. “I’m glad I chose Hopkins because I feel the experience I’m getting here as a student in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Graduate Training Program in Nanotechnology for Biology and Medicine will truly prepare me for a career in this interdisciplinary field.“

Dobrowsky says he enjoys working in “two worlds“ with different ways of approaching a problem. “In attempting to affect a system as complicated as HIV infection, it just makes sense to understand the biology involved as well as relevant physical and chemical interactions.“

Dobrowsky acknowledges that work in the lab for 60 hours or so each week can sometimes get tedious, but even then he wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. “When your experiment works, you have a brief moment of enlightenment that inspires you to keep going,“ he says.

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