In our Alumni Spotlight series, we ask alumni to tell us about their careers and how their UVA experiences prepared them for life after the Lawn.

Meet Garrett Beeghly, a 2017 Biomedical Engineering graduate who minored in Engineering Business. Garrett was the Editor-in-Chief of The Spectra Engineering and Science Research Journal, Member of the Raven Society, Rodman Scholar, Member of the Virginia Alpha Chapter of Tau Beta Pi, and a Teaching Assistant in the Department of Biomedical Engineering. 

UVA BME alum Garrett Beeghly

Tell us about your career and your current job.

After graduating, I worked as a research fellow for one year at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom before beginning my graduate studies. Now, I am a second-year Ph.D. student in the laboratory of Dr. Claudia Fischbach at the Meinig School of Biomedical Engineering at Cornell University. My thesis aims to understand how breast cancer cells interact with surrounding healthy tissues during disease progression and how these interactions may be altered in the context of obesity. In the future, I hope to pursue a career at the intersection of cancer research and public health.

I began my career in research with Dr. Jennifer Munson as a second year at UVA. In her lab, I leveraged engineering strategies to model how aggressive brain tumors, known as glioblastoma, interact with native components of the brain during invasion. The Harrison Undergraduate Research Award was one resource at UVA that fostered my development as a young scientist. Through this program, I received financial support to develop and conduct an independent research project over the summer following my third year. 

UVA BME alum Garrett Beeghly in the lab

For current students hoping to pursue research on Grounds or research careers, what are some of the most effective things they can do right now to prepare themselves for future success?

For current students interested in pursuing a graduate career in research, I recommend becoming involved with a lab in your first or second year. This will enable you to build a meaningful relationship with your research advisor and provide you with the time needed to achieve results to publish or present at a conference.