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April 06, 1988 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1988-04-06

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Profile
Continued from Page 1
eleventh and twelfth grades, Merkle
worked as a volunteer in the emer-
gency room of Henry Ford Hospital.

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HER PARENTS, she said,
influenced her choice to study
medicine.
"My dad used to take me on
rounds with him when I was
young," Merkle said.
She has watched her father, who
is an anesthesiologist, perform
surgery, and has sat in on sessions
with her mother, who is a social
worker.
"My family has been supportive,
not only academically, but in every-
*- -thing I do," she said.
Merkle's research involves view-
ing 21 different cancer lines taken
from human cancer patients and
plotting their growth patterns in two
different media.

"You have to have the maturity, and
the drive, and the focus to get that
A."
After she received a B in the En-
glish 125 class she took in her first
year, she vowed never to get below
an A.
Since then, she hasn't.
A member of the Phi Beta Kappa
honors society, she has a grade point
average of 3.93.
"I STUDY until I finish my
work, until I'm prepared," she said.
But she doesn't consider studying a
chore. "I study because I enjoy
learning and I love science."
Maintaining good grades, Merkle
said, stems from her "regimented"
time schedule, which she said in-
volves self-discipline and efficient
time planning.
As a member of Sigma Delta Tau
sorority, Merkle said she makes time

never met anyone who's more social
and more fun than Suzie."
Merkle istplanning to continue
living with the same people next
year, even though she will be in
medical school.
Participating in research projects
is nothing new for Merkle. As a
sophomore, she helped conduct a
cognitive psychological study of the
class Psychology 100, "Learning to
Learn." She phoned former and cur-
rent University students who had
taken Psychology 100 and asked
them questions to see what they re-
membered about the class.
THE WORK she did on that
project was published, and her expe-
rience prompted her to seek further
research projects.
Merkle is working with several
other people, including Dr. Harry
Hoffman, who is currently conduct-

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THE CANCER she observes is
called squamous cell carcinoma,
which comes from the head and neck
region of the human body.
Merkle compares the rate at
which the cancer lines proliferate in
a "serum-free environment,"
'containing no hormones, binding
proteins,minerals, or lipids to the
growth rate, to the same cancer cells
in a "serum-supplemented environ-
ment" which is rich in nutrients.
She has found that certain cancer
lines grow much slower in the
serum-free environment. This corre-
lates with the life span of the cancer
patients from whom the cancer was
taken, she said.
This spring, Merkle plans to stay
in Ann Arbor and take an Organic
Chemistry Lab, a requirement she
needs to fulfill before entering medi-
cal school.
IN ADDITION, she plans to
be a proctor for a biochemistry class,
tutoring other students.
But Merkle's interests extend far
beyond the laboratory. This summer,
she will take classes in drama and art
history in a Sarah Lawrence College
program in London, England. She
said she enjoys art history - a class
which doesn't take as much studying
as her science classes.
The credits she earns this spring
and summer will enable her to grad-
uate in August, after spending only
three years as an undergraduate stu-
dent.

for social and community activities,
such as the annual Balloon Ascen-
tion, which raises money for
prevention of child abuse.
Merkle, formerly an aerobics
teacher, is an avid exerciser, using
"exercise as an outlet for stress." She
works out two hours a day, seven
days a week. Sometimes she runs,
and other times she swims. She is
planning to run in a marathon April
10.
MERKLE SAID it's not al-
ways easy to stay motivated when
the work is so difficult, but she
credited her housemates.
"We're all supportive of each
other," she said. "We talk about our
problems. They're like my family
here."
LSA junior Sandy Raitt, one of
Merkle's housemates, said, "I've

ing his research fellowship on can-
cer-related antibodies at the Univer-
sity Hospital.
"She's doing really well. She's a
very hard worker," Hoffman said,
adding that Merkle often works at
the lab late at night or on weekends.
The research they are conducting,
Hoffman said, will be presented in
Boston in July, during a convention
of top international cancer re
searchers.
"These doctors I work with are
great doctors. They command a great.
deal of respect and one day I hope to
do the same," Merkle said.
Many people perceive doctors as
one-dimensional, but the doctors she
works with have a wide range of in-
terests, she said.
This is what Merkle is striving
for.

'Doing lab work really helps you see your long-term
goals. People in undergrad get all caught up in worry-
ing about tests, and grades. That's not what being a
doctor is all about; it's about helping people.'
- Suzie Merkle,
LSA senior

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Merkle entered the University
with 22 credits from Advanced
Placement examinations in chem-
istry, biology, and calculus taken
during high school.
HARD WORK is important for
succeeding in life, as well as for
achieving good grades, she said.
"It's not all that hard to get a B or
a B plus, but you have to put in that
extra work to get an A," she said.

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