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Immunology & Microbiology Program Meet Ben Haslund-Gourley
MD/PhD Candidate Class of 2026

Naloxone Outreach Project - Ben Haslund-Gourley

Hometown: Santa Barbara, California
Undergraduate: UC Santa Barbara

What is your Drexel program and class year?

I started medical school in 2019 and will complete both degrees in 2026

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you came to Drexel?

I was a tutor at UCSB for organic chemistry and genetics and I researched in the Marth Lab at UCSB from 2012-2019. I have led volunteer clinics in Ecuador and Peru, and I serve as the vice president on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit college-preparatory tutoring center Gateway Educational Services in Santa Barbara. I love to surf, hike, and play piano and drumset.

How did you choose to come to Drexel?

When I interviewed at Drexel, I was impressed with the caliber of the research combined with the welcoming attitude of the students and faculty and knew I could get the support and freedom to thrive.

What is your relationship with the faculty like?

The faculty are always happy to meet and provide input, and they deeply care about the success of their students.

How about your relationship with your classmates?

My classmates are kind, aware, supportive and collaborative, and help bring out the best in each other.

Can you tell me about your research?

My research focuses on acute Lyme disease. When someone gets bitten by an infected tick and contracts Lyme disease, the tests clinicians use often do not confirm or “catch” the infection early. This means that people with an acute case of Lyme disease may not receive antibiotics quickly and risk their infection spreading to their heart, brain or joints. I am characterizing the N-glycan structures bound to proteins in the blood to determine if they can be employed to diagnose acute Lyme disease earlier. Through the support of the Coulter Program at Drexel, I have developed a high-throughput method of detecting N-glycans with my PI, Dr. Comunale. We are hard at work to complete a powered study examining these N-glycan structures and are collaborating with a biostatistician, Jintong Hou, at Drexel. See also, Collaborative Research by Drexel, Cooper Medical Students Demonstrates Method to Reduce Opioid Use Disorder Stigma.

Are you involved with any extracurricular activities? How do these support your academic journey?

I have had the pleasure of volunteering to offer SLAMS science courses, volunteering with other graduate students during outreach at the Mutter Museum, serving as an executive advisor for the Narcan Outreach Program (NOP) through Drexel University College of Medicine (DUCOM), and recently founded a new program called Microgreens Outreach Program at DUCOM.

What advice would you give to a future student?

Drexel offers an abundance of opportunities to excel. Ask upper-class students for mentorship and advice, find a research lab that aligns with your learning style, and ask questions often.