Graduating student finds his passion at CU Anschutz

When Andy Winter talks about the prospect of continuing his education at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, one word comes to mind: excitement. Although he has spent the last year and a half on the CU Anschutz campus, Winter wants nothing more than to stay put.

This fall, Winter will graduate from the Graduate School with a master of science degree in Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology.

“I knew that graduate school was in my future,” he said. “But, I wasn’t sure about jumping right into a program. So I worked in industry microbiology after finishing my undergraduate degree in biotechnology and microbiology.”

After three years in the industry, Winter missed the thrill of research. So, in 2015, he moved from Minnesota to Colorado to completely dedicate himself to applying to graduate school.

Choosing CU Anschutz

CU Anschutz was an attractive choice for Winter because of the numerous areas of research expertise on campus.

He also found the master’s program in Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology (BSBT) at CU Anschutz especially appealing because it afforded him a flexible curriculum. He was able to navigate and sample any of the scientific disciplines CU Anschutz has to offer.

Little did Winter know that he would get much more out of CU Anschutz than just an education. It also re-introduced him to one of his passions – immunology.

Hands-on learning

Winter joined the lab of Beth Tamburini, PhD over a year ago. Although challenging, he has enjoyed his time there. While working in the lab, he conducts impactful research involving the immune system. The Tamburini lab is currently working on three different projects involving immune function. This variety of work has given him the opportunity to collaborate with other labs and extend his professional network.

“First, we are working to better understand how the immune system enhances protection against a secondary infection,” said Winter. “Secondly, we’re working with Dr. Traci Lyons to understand the role of lymphatic vessels in the immune response in breast cancer. Finally, we are working with Dr. Hugo Rosen to study lymphatic vessels and their interaction with immune cells in the liver during chronic liver disease.”

Through this hands-on laboratory work, Winter has gained invaluable knowledge and experience.

“I’m glad to be a part of this lab,” said Winter. “I’ve found immunology to be so fascinating and intricate. My understanding of immunology was limited prior to joining the Tamburini lab. The research we’re conducting is important in understanding how to better combat diseases that impact millions.”

Winter hopes to continue his professional development at CU Anschutz not only because of the campus’s cutting-edge research, but also because of its supportive attitudes.

“I’ve grown comfortable with the community of researchers and students on campus,” he said. “It has given me a strong support network and I’m dedicated to continue growing as a professional with the support of that community.”

More than academics

Despite his busy study and lab schedule, Winter found time to be an active member of the Women in STEM organization at CU Anschutz. He also attends the bi-weekly tumor immunology seminar series.

“These organizations have further enriched my experience at CU Anschutz,” said Winter. “They’ve given me unique perspective, knowledge and networking opportunities I wouldn’t have found elsewhere.”

CU Anschutz has also given him the opportunity to attend seminars, conferences and other events led by outstanding scientists. “Through these events, I’ve heard from some of the most prestigious scientists in the world – some of which are a part of this campus,” said Winter.

Looking forward

Winter wants to continue his educational career at CU Anschutz in either the Molecular Biology  PhD program or the Biomedical Sciences PhD program.

“I’ve learned so much in my time as a master’s student and research assistant,” said Winter. “As I near completion of my master’s degree in the BSBT program, I can look back at the previous year and say CU Anschutz was the right decision for me.”

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