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Jake Claflin

Undergraduate, Class of 2016

What made you choose the University of Michigan?
I wanted to go to a school that had a strong engineering program, but also a school that offered a variety of extra-curricular activities, like research. I applied to a couple other schools because I was considering swimming in college, but ultimately decided that Michigan was the right fit. Plus, it didn’t hurt that both of my parents and my two older brothers are Michigan graduates.

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What has your experience been like as an undergraduate?
I am definitely lucky to have had a lot of the experiences I have had through ASDP as an undergraduate. I have been able to do a lot of things that I would not have expected to do before medical school. In addition, being able to come into the morphomics lab whenever I want allows me to participate in activities on campus other than research. The flexibility of the schedule definitely encourages undergrads working in the lab to stay engaged on campus and be well-rounded.

What makes being a student at Michigan special?
Being a student at Michigan is great. There are so many great opportunities to keep oneself busy with, and being surrounded by the engaged and motivated people at U of M keeps me motivated to reach for high goals.

Extra-curricular involvement:
Triathlon club and M-HEAL (Michigan Health Engineered for All Lives)

You’re premed, was there an experience that made you want to become a doctor?
I have always been interested in science and medicine. I want to become a doctor because I want to use my interest in science to directly benefit the lives of others.

How has your experience with ASDP helped with that decision?
ASDP has really strengthened my desire to attend medical school. I’ve had the opportunity to interact with patients in clinic, shadow physicians, attend lectures about various aspects of medicine, learn to suture and use laparoscopic instruments in the simulation center, and even observe surgery through the TAPS program. ASPD has also provided me with great mentors in the form of surgeons, residents, medical students, and other undergraduates.

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Talk about your research in surgery
Through both Frailty and Morphomics, I have become more interested in outcomes-based research. Especially in morphomics, there are so many different projects that can be done to identify risk factors in a variety of patient populations. The nature of the research encourages a lot of collaboration, which makes for a great environment in the lab.

Mitch Alameddine and I are currently working on a project to better understand the long-term impact that living-donor kidney donation has on the donor. We were generously given the opportunity to travel to the American Society of Transplant Surgeons Winter Symposium 2014  to present a poster, for which we received a Poster of Distinction award.

Talk about your experience working with faculty, residents, medical students and other undergraduates in the research lab
All of the faculty, residents, and medical students I have been able to interact with are more than willing to answer questions about medicine or anything else I want to know. It is extremely valuable to have mentors who are at different stages of their careers who can all offer different perspectives. They have helped me realize that there are many paths to medicine and that even within surgery there are many diverse fields. The other undergrads I get to work with are very motivated and are great people to be around. We get to spend a good amount of time with each other and that makes the whole experience more fun.

Future goals
I plan to attend an MD/PhD program following undergrad. I am interested in regenerative medicine, and hope to one day make artificial organs closer to a reality for individuals waiting for donor organs.

Mention something interesting that people may not know
Last summer, I had the privilege of being a camp counselor at Camp Michitanki, a camp that U of M puts on for children who have received a transplant. It was an extremely rewarding experience that I will not forget.