Jeffery M. Coller, Ph.D.: Class of 1994

JDr. Jeffery Coller is currently an Assistant Professor in the Center for RNA Molecular Biology at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He received his Ph.D. in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2000 and was a Post-doctoral Fellow in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Arizona-Tucson from 2000-2005. “The Honors Program at UM-Flint was a quintessential experience in my life both personally and professionally,” Dr. Coller asserts. “Personally, I met many brilliant people, some of whom I’m still friends with to this day. In fact, my best friend at that time is still my best friend today and we keep in touch constantly. The Program helped me meet people that inspired me to reach my career goals. It was like a geeky support group.”

His interest in RNA took root from his off-campus study project, which he conducted on group I introns in Dr. Britt-Marie Sjöberg’s lab at Stockholm University in Sweden. He believes that his experience overseas was professionally critical. “It opened my eyes to a big world of culture and opportunity. In fact, I can honestly say to this day that I would simply not be in the position I am in without the overseas experience.”

Dr. Coller is a principal investigator of a federally funded research lab comprised of 10 people, undergraduate and graduate students and research technicians alike. His work focuses on understanding fundamental aspects of cellular function, specifically the decay of messenger RNA.

In the future, he plans to continue to develop his lab’s research program and do the science that he loves. His advice to current and future Honors students: “Take advantage of your opportunity in this program. Dare to take a risk and do something you never thought you could do. It is a rare and golden opportunity to test your abilities. Also, make friends. The people you are surrounded by will one day be the leaders of our society. You can learn much from each other.”