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Gary Cantor; a Lifetime in Medicine

May 07, 2016
Even as a young boy in Coral Springs, Florida, where he was born and raised, Gary Cantor wanted a career in the medical field. He watched a lot of medical reality shows on TV and grew to admire doctors who worked to save people's lives. He realized he wanted to do the same thing when he grew up’ his dream was to be able to give hope to the hopeless.

Gary Cantor's dream took a bit of a turn when he was 13, though, when he saw a YouTube video of Dr. Aubrey de Grey, a biomedical gerontologist. Dr. de Grey convinced him that medical research could potentially help people live up to 1,000 years. His discussions with de Grey convinced him that research was the place for him. These days, Gary sees the human body as an advanced computer and believes that anyone with knowledge of its instruction manual, or genome, may be able to make the computer run forever.

Gary Cantor studied biology at the University of Florida and he worked as a researcher in his first lab while still a teenager. One summer, he went to San Francisco for four months, working as an intern for Genentech in their Translational Oncology department, as part of a team looking at a promising treatment for breast cancer.

After Florida, Cantor was accepted into the Biological and Biomedical Sciences Program (BBSP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC), where he also joined the university's Genetics and Molecular Biology Department. He is still only 26, but he is a Ph.D. candidate and though his career in medical research is just getting started, he promises to help move medical science forward for many years to come.