Sebastian spends most days in various labs throughout the UF College of Medicine campus. In addition to his research with human subjects under Mark Brantly, MD ’79, Sebastian’s graduate research projects include investigating novel therapies for glioblastoma and characterizing the role of genes whose roles haven’t yet been described. Another project focuses on breast cancer. Sebastian works closely with his mentor, chief of neuro-oncology David Tran, MD, PhD, at the McKnight Brain Institute. Sebastian says Tran is charismatic, encouraging and full of advice.
“The most ideal situation in graduate school is finding a mentor you connect with and finding a project you can enjoy working on,” he says. “I was lucky enough to find both.”
Tran says Sebastian is a collaborative and helpful presence on his research team.
“It’s a great pleasure to have Mat in the lab. He’s very smart, thorough and very creative in his thinking,” he says. “He’s functioning at a very senior level for someone at this stage in his career.”
When he’s not in the lab, Sebastian is working to perfect the student experience through involvement in multiple committees and organizations. He currently sits on the UF MD-PhD Program Executive Committee, the UF College of Medicine Student Advocacy Committee and the UF Graduate Student Council.
“As a student, you can truly bring about change. We have faculty at the UF College of Medicine that are very receptive to ideas put forth by students,” he says. “And we as students are constantly motivating each other. The esprit de corps here at UF is making us better scientists and doctors.”