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Undergraduate Programs

BMB Features: Yashar Yaxiaer

Yashar Yaxiaer in front of a signature wall for Penn State's Dance Marathon

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Department is proud to be called home to some of the most outstanding undergraduate students in higher education.  These students display a high level of dedication, not only in furthering their education but in their desire to be on the frontlines of scientific discovery.  

Meet one such student, Yashar Yaxiaer.  Yashar, a junior at Penn State majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, credits his love of science and medicine to his father who he refers to as “one of the most caring general surgeons I have ever met.”  Growing up, Yashar witnessed his father's impact on the lives of his patients, as many came to their house in thanks for saving their life, or the lives of a family member.  “They would tell me he is a hero,” said Yashar.  This made him realize the sacred role of a surgeon and has continued to push Yashar to be like his father battling alongside patients.  He chose biochemistry and molecular biology as his path in hopes that he too can become a surgeon and foster a love of taking care of people, like his father.  “Medicine is always developing,” said Yashar.  “I want to be part of the evolution and contribute my part.”

Yashar, international student originally from Ürümqi China but currently living in Pittsburgh, came to this United States six years ago.  Not having much knowledge on what college to choose from, his cousin, a Penn State at the time, invited him for a visit.  “I was first amazed by how diverse Penn State is, and how supportive people are here,” said Yashar.   Originally thinking about attending The University of Pittsburgh, he decided on Penn State believing it would allow him to learn to be more independent. 

Yashar attended Penn State Berks for two years before transferring to the University Park campus.  He credits the faculty and staff at Penn State Berks for instilling in him a sense of leadership and for giving him the foundation necessary for continuing his education.  “It shaped me into who I am today,” he said.  “I transferred to University Park last Fall and was able to keep being who I am, keep trying.”

Since his transfer to Penn State’s University Park Campus Yashar has taken advantage of the opportunity to become an undergraduate researcher.  Currently he works under the direction of associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, Emily Weinert.  There he is conducting research for the completion of his thesis.  His research is focused on determination of how different antibiotic stressors effect 2’, 3’-cNMP production/decay and investigates how cellular signal transduction occurs in bacteria and its contributing factors.

Outside of the laboratory Yashar’s hobbies include listening to music and watching movies.  He has also participated in THON the past three years and seeks to continue raising awareness of what THON is doing to help children, and their families, fight pediatric cancer.  Yashar works every day to achieve his goal of becoming a surgeon where he hopes to one day foster the love of taking care of people within next generation of scientists and doctors, just like his father.