Tim Low has found his niche. The Huntington High School junior is one of the mainstays of the science research program. Last summer, he branched out and traveled to Fordham University in the Bronx for cutting edge lab work there.
Mr. Low is a serious young man with a sensational sense of humor. He’s an integral member of Huntington’s science research program and the teenager impressed Fordham’s laboratory staff.
The Huntington junior was mentored at Fordham by Professor Patricio Meneses, who welcomed the teenager into the lab that bears his name. The Rose Hill facility is studying human papillomavirus infection, which has been estimated to cause about one-third of the 1.5 million cancers annually traced to viruses.
Professor Patricio Meneses
at work in his lab at Fordham.
“The HPV related cancers include cervical cancer, head and neck squamous carcinoma and anal cancer,” according to the Meneses lab web page. “Our long-term goal is to understand the basic processes that are necessary to establish HPV infection. Understanding the process of initial viral entry and trafficking can result in novel approaches to decrease infection and lessen the burden of HPV related cancers.”
Lori Kenny, a science teacher who heads Huntington’s science research program, encouraged Mr. Low to seek out a summer internship. So they teenager sent his resume to Dr. Meneses and was eventually accepted to work with members of the lab team.
Mr. Low traveled to Fordham via the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North. The teenager worked in the lab 3-5 days per week throughout the summer.
Dr. Meneses obtained a BS at SUNY Stony Brook in 1990 and a Ph.D. at Weill-Cornell Medical College in 1999. He engaged in post-doctoral studies at Harvard Medical School before working as a senior research investigator at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology, Microbiology and Immunology. Prior to coming to Fordham, he was an assistant professor at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in Chicago, working in the department of microbiology and immunology from 2006-2011.
At Fordham, Professor Meneses and Mr. Low performed experiments focused on different strains of HPV and methods to prevent their movement through the body.
“I learned a lot about how labs work and the processes involved with experiments,” Mr. Low said. “Professor Meneses taught me much about viral sciences and laboratory methods.”
The summer internship program provided Mr. Low with an opportunity to observe how a laboratory functions and allowed him to delve deeper into scientific topics that interest him.
The Huntington junior’s objective during the internship was to perform preparatory tasks for the lab as well as assisting his mentor during actual experiments. Mr. Low plans to take what he has learned and relate it to science research class this year. He is currently developing a project and intends to present it during competitions in the spring.
“By the end of the summer, I knew much about HPV and I knew how to perform all the experiments,” Mr. Low said. “I felt proud to be able to work in a lab where the research was important not only to the scientific community, but for the whole world, too.”
The teenager has thrived at Huntington. “The science research program has been the backbone of my high school experience and it has inspired me to join clubs and take classes such as AP Seminar,” Mr. Low said. “Mrs. Kenny is like my mother inside the high school. She has helped me work towards my goals and helped me with my research at Fordham. I highly recommend the research program for anyone remotely interested in science.”
The junior is beginning to build relationships with a variety of colleges. He’s not sure what career path he intends to take, but he has some ideas. Mr. Low’s father, William Low is a professor at Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and the teenager plans on investigating some of the programs at that school, too. “I’m trying to look at other colleges I’m interested in and begin to pinpoint possible career paths I can take,” he said.
(Huntington junior Nolan Piccola, an intern in the high school science research program, contributed to this story.)