Isabelle Laizure, biotechnology student, working in UNH Manchester's COVID lab

“I knew I was going to attend UNH Manchester since I was in eighth grade," says biotechnology student Isabelle Laizure ’22, '23G.

Isabelle was so sure she was going to pursue a career in the sciences, she even switched to a high school specializing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to get a jump on earning college credits through Manchester Community College.

UNH Manchester's location and affordability were important to Isabelle, but it was the opportunity to work with the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) and participate in a variety of unique research projects that really stood out. She applied to and was accepted into the Millyard Scholars Program  in 2019 which not only allowed her to tour and intern at local regenerative manufacturing companies, but also to conduct research that is very close to her heart.

“As a pre-med student, getting research experience is extremely important to my growth as a scientist and medical professional,” Isabelle said. “Conducting research with the potential for a clinical impact is especially important to me."

Isabelle currently works at ARMI as a regulatory intern, alongside Richard McFarland and Kelly Morbey on the ARMI | BioFabUSA Regulatory Consulting Team, providing regulatory consulting to biotech companies and assisting on everything from FDA submissions to clinical and preclinical study design.

As a Millyard Scholar, Isabelle joined Dr. Kristen Johnson’s biology lab, which focuses on understanding the role of several genes in the progression of pancreatic cancer, specifically the analysis of FOXN2.

“This project gave me the opportunity to enhance my understanding of oncology and the research that goes into studying the complexity of cancer with the hope of identifying therapeutic targets,” she says. "Like many others, my family has been affected by cancer. My grandmother passed from Non-Hodgkin lymphoma when I was young, so oncology has always been an interest of mine.”

Isabelle also brought her biotech skills to life on the frontlines of the pandemic. From fall 2020 to spring 2022 she worked as a lab assistant in UNH Manchester's on-site COVID testing lab, processing COVID-19 swabs for classmates, faculty and staff.

“Being in the lab every day, while sometimes exhausting, has been so enriching and invigorating,” she says. “As an undergraduate student, it has been invaluable to work alongside my talented peers and graduate student mentors.”

Isabelle completed her B.S. in biotechnology and is now pursuing her master's in biotechnology: industrial and biomedical sciences through UNH Manchester’s Accelerated Master’s program. From there, she plans on pursuing her M.D./Ph.D., potentially focusing on regulatory work for the FDA.