Alumni Hornblower '94 and Schreiber '98 create an internship opportunity for aspiring scientists
Dr. Taylor Schreiber ’98 discovered his calling as a student at St. Paul’s School. While working on an Independent Study Project (ISP), Schreiber shadowed a radiologist at nearby Concord Hospital for a term, and the pieces started to fall into place.
Schreiber is now the chief scientific officer for Shattuck Labs, Inc., a biotech lab he co-founded with fellow alumnus Josiah Hornblower ’94, who serves as the chief financial officer. “The best way to get close to medicine before you have an M.D. is science,” explained Schreiber, who went on to earn an M.D. and Ph.D. in cancer biology and immunology at the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine. “I started doing research at SPS; then I did research exclusively in Boston. It confirmed that I wanted not only to be a doctor but a scientist."
The lab, named for the School’s founder, Dr. George Cheyne Shattuck, Jr., concentrates on the advancement of immunotherapy in cancer treatment. "Science is one of those fields you can learn the pathways and the fundamentals of knowledge, but becoming a good scientist requires good mentorship," said Schreiber. "The reason I became a good scientist is because I was lucky to have good mentors. We have folks who are outstanding teachers that we hope could benefit a young student."
Schreiber and Hornblower hope to spark a similar trajectory for a rising Sixth Form student. The two have created an internship at their lab in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, that will be included in School’s existing Engineering Honors Program. “We feel really lucky that we got to have the experience at St. Paul’s School,” said Hornblower of a recent visit to the School. “It was great to come back and see the changes that are pretty amazing. The internship is our opportunity to give back.”
To prepare for his work with Schreiber’s team this summer, Fifth Former Scott Spurzem has spent the Spring Term working side-by-side with Molecular Biology teacher Sarah Boylan to learn molecular techniques such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), gel electrophoresis, and cancer culture. Spurzem says he has always loved science, and like Schreiber, arriving in Millville has only helped him explore his interests. "There is so much we can do here," said the Montana-raised teen, who has taken everything from Physics First and Advanced Chemistry to Astronomy and Human Anatomy and Physiology. “Anything you want to do, they will help you.”
The Molecular Biology lab inside the Lindsay Center for Mathematics and Science is one of many resources available to students wishing to understand tools and techinques on par with professional labs. "PCR is arguably the most powerful laboratory technique ever invented, enabling scientist to make a billion copies of a specific piece of DNA in just a few hours," explained Boylan. "The School's laboratory is outfitted with an incubator, culture hood, microscope, and more that enables students to carry out cancer cell cultures, which will be very beneficial to Scott's work over the summer at Shattuck Labs."