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International Student-Athlete Headed to Prestigious Medical Program After Graduation

By Colby Gallagher

Published on March 18, 2019

Borna Novak Bio'19 at the 198th Founders' Day Ceremony on Feb. 14, 2019International student-athlete Borna Novak BC’19 is headed to St. Louis in the fall after being accepted to the prestigious Medical Scientist Training Program at Washington University, an accomplishment he says was made possible by the nourishing learning environment he experienced at USciences.

“This is extremely competitive, in particular for international students,” said Zhihong Wang PhD, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry. “To my knowledge, Borna is the only student accepted by a MD/PhD program in the past 13 years from our department.”

Novak is a full-time student, captain of the men’s tennis team, and has two publications in major journals with more in development. A native of Croatia, Novak came to USciences due to his interest in bridging biology and chemistry as well as receiving an offer to play tennis.

“At University of the Sciences there is no limit on how much you can learn, it all depends on how enthusiastic and dedicated you are to science”

-- Borna Novak BC'19

“Interacting with professors that cultivate enthusiasm and dedication to science allows for a great growth for future scientists,” said Novak. “Due to small classes, each student can have a lot of one-on-one conversations with professors and learn from scientists who are at the top of their fields.”

Novak accepted the 2019 Undergraduate Student Award of Merit during University of the Sciences’ 198th Founders’ Day ceremony on Feb. 14.

“Over three and a half years, I have seen Borna grow into an excellent researcher. He is not just excellent with his hands, he is able to solve problems and implement research solutions to bring any assigned project to a successful completion,” said Dr. Wang, who called Novak the most productive undergraduate researcher she’s ever taught or trained at USciences. “Because of his outstanding research capability, Borna is as productive as my graduate students.”

Novak spent his summers working full-time in Wang’s lab with a goal of becoming an independent physician-scientist, something he is on track to do. He credits the success to a willingness to take in as much as you can in an environment that fosters a love of science.

“At University of the Sciences there is no limit on how much you can learn, it all depends on how enthusiastic and dedicated you are to science” Novak said. “Professors are always willing to discuss potential projects and guide you through the world of science.

Novak is set to graduate in May before heading to Washington University.

Categories: News, Students, Misher College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biochemistry, Feature Story, USciences, Proven Everywhere, Awards and Honors, Undergraduate