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Kyle Sloop, Molecular Biology, Chemistry, Alumni

A focus on research offered perfect match for doctoral studies

Kyle Sloop | 2001 Alumnus, Ph.D. Molecular Biology and Biochemistry | Biology Department, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology An interest in discovery research and learning led Kyle Sloop to enroll in a few evening graduate-level classes at the School of Science while continuing his day job as an associate scientist at Eli Lilly.

Sloop, 2001 Ph.D. in molecular biology and biochemistry, soon discovered a program and faculty that fit what he wanted for his doctoral studies.

“The best thing about the School of Science experience for me was that the curriculum in the program is very focused on a research-oriented degree,” Sloop said. “This allows the student to be trained in the basic sciences and then to apply that learning to real hypotheses testing. That is sometimes not always found with other programs.”

Sloop now serves as Research Advisor in the Endocrine Discovery Division of Lilly Research Laboratories at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. His research investigates molecular mechanisms that control glucose homeostasis, including insulin secretion and action, with a focus on novel therapeutic targets for metabolic disease. In this role, he leads interdisciplinary teams on early drug discovery effort.

“Endocrine systems controls almost every aspect of physiology—from growth to glucose metabolism and body weight to reproduction to the body’s ability to respond to stress—the study of hormones and the regulatory processes that control their actions is fascinating,” Sloop said.

While pursuing his doctorate, Sloop found a big emphasis on time in the laboratory to explore new sciences and complete projects that lead to dissertation or a manuscript for publication. “That was perfect training for my eventual job,” he said.

He also knew it would be important to find the right Ph.D. mentor when choosing a program.  After taking Dr. Simon Rhodes (now the School’s dean) endocrinology course, he could envision himself doing research in his lab. He also appreciated Rhodes’ philosophy of  ‘work hard, but play hard.’

As for advice when choosing a graduate program, Sloop encourages students to find a mentor and a lab that matches personal philosophy, personality and interest.  Interview the faculty as much as they interview you, he added.

Sloop grew up in Greenwood, Ind., before earning his undergraduate degree in biology at Indiana University-Bloomington. He then received a master’s degree in biotechnology from Northwestern University.

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