Dr. Arden Baylink joined the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Department of Veterinary Microbiology and Pathology in 2022 and established his lab to focus on engineering new therapeutics against bacterial gastrointestinal pathogens. He obtained his doctorate in biochemistry and biophysics from Oregon State University and completed his postdoctoral studies at the University of Oregon.
What are your current research interests and what attracted you to these areas?
My current focus is on engineering new therapeutics against bacterial gastrointestinal pathogens. These diseases affect millions of people, particularly in developing regions of the world, yet in comparison to diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s, few companies are developing new medicines to treat these diseases. I think this is an area where academics like myself can contribute to real-world improvements in human health.
What do you ultimately hope to accomplish with your research?
If any of the aspects of bacterial infections we study in the Baylink lab, or the novel drug leads we identify, are able to translate into a clinical setting and improve someone’s quality of life, or save a life, I will consider my research to have been successful.
Why is it important to you to advocate for the inclusion of rural individuals, first-generation college graduates, and those from low-income backgrounds in science and academia?
Socioeconomic status is a powerful driver of inequity in our society and is commonly an overlooked dimension of equity and inclusion. I believe science is for everyone, and the substantial underrepresentation of rural people, first-generation college graduates, and those from low-income backgrounds means we are losing valuable perspectives in science and academia. I am excited that WSU and VMP have been so welcoming to my ideas on how to improve inclusion on the basis of socioeconomic status.
What advice would you give to younger people considering a career in science?
First, know that graduate programs in biomedical sciences pay you! These PhD programs are more like a job, where you earn income and perform research, and very little of your time is actually spent in classes. Second, seek laboratory research experience as early as possible and be persistent. You may face many “no thank yous” as you seek a research opportunity, and that’s OK. Laboratory research experience (outside of classes) is the primary criterion by which graduate programs consider you for acceptance.
Why did you choose to come to WSU?
WSU and the College of Veterinary Medicine have a terrific culture of translational research. I am excited to have so many colleagues working on issues that truly impact human and animal health. The local DVM expertise is a terrific asset to my research program, and I look forward to collaborations that apply these resources to translational in vivo models.