2014 Equity Intern: Dain Regis

Regis_Dain_1_150A commitment to serving others has always been part of Dain Regis' purpose and passion in life. Dain, who was born in Haiti, lost his parents at a young age, and was raised by family members who invested their time and affection on the young, talented boy. These experiences instilled in him the value of community and helping others.

While taking a full college courseload and working  full-time, Dain also managed  to volunteer for more than 300 hours at Holmes Regional Medical Center, while maintaining a 3.9 GPA. He also tutored students through the Office for Students with Disabilities. As a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Dain helped facilitate several campus events from membership drives to HIV/AIDS Awareness Days. The event helped ensure that nearly 150 students received educational material on HIV/AIDS, and knew where to go to get tested.

"Volunteering was a great experience that not only allowed me to see what it is like to be a physician in a hospital, but also enabled me to gain experience interacting with patients and confirmed that being a surgeon is truly what I want to do with my life," he says.

Dain is motivated to earn a joint M.D./Ph.D. degree,  and to become a cardiothoracic surgeon and scientist. He credits his life experiences for his drive to do well in school, and pursue a career that would allow him the opportunity to continue to help others.

"I dream of the day I will be able to perform life-saving transplants and help make a difference in the lives of my patients.  I am also very interested in conducting research to improve cardiac care and create a dependable artificial heart," he says.

2014 marks the second year that Dain is participating in the highly selective Summer Equity Internship Program. Last year, he worked with Casey Eye Institute at Oregon Health and Science University exploring the neuroprotective effects of serotonin receptor modulators on a light damage  mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa.

This summer, Dain is once again working with research mentor Mark Pennesi, M.D., Ph.D., to advance the learnings from his research stint last year. Dain's project focuses on measuring the function of the impulses of the rods and cones in the retina using Electroretinograms (ERGs). He is analyzing the structure of the retina using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCTs), which are used to measure the thicknesses of different retinal layers. He will also be shadowing Donn Spight, M.D., FACS, in the Department of Surgery.

"I have learned new lab techniques like OCT, as well as received good advice from my mentors and other professionals," says Dain. "Every part of this internship has been relevant to my academic and career aspirations. What I have appreciated most has been how everyone involved has my best interest at heart. Mentors and other professionals are always giving advice and asking how they can help me reach my goals."

Interested in learning more about the Summer Equity Internship Program? Contact David Martinez, Manager of Student Recruitment and Retention.

Posted on July 8, 2014. Photo and write-up by Maileen Hamto.