Katherine Caflisch

Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
PhD Program; Molecular Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics track
Est. graduation date 2022

What you do:

Katherine Caflisch

I work in an infectious diseases lab where I study the potential of a class of viruses (called “bacteriophages”) to be used as a therapeutic alternative to antibiotics as the drug-resistant crisis looms larger than ever before. As a graduate student, every day looks a little bit different: I may be performing experiments, attending classes, writing, tutoring, traveling to conferences to share my research, and more often than not, some combination of these! My work challenges me and brings me so much joy.

What inspires you:

Explain why you are drawn to your chosen field. I draw inspiration from my mentor and colleagues, who have sacrificed so much to expand what is known about the biological intricacies of our bodies and/or our world. They motivate me to work harder and continue asking questions. I’m especially encouraged by those who have the gift of communicating their science effectively (i.e., minus the jargon so that any audience can understand) which is imperative to engaging the public and preventing the spread of scientific misinformation.

How you want to make a difference:

I want to use my commitment to microbiology to improve the lives of patients. The beautiful thing is that there are so many ways one might go about this!

How Bethany has prepared you:

Unfortunately, there are many in science who reject the reality of a sovereign, all-powerful God who has created everything and has set forth a plan in His Son to reconcile the world to Himself. As I confront this and similar worldviews, I am particularly grateful for the strong foundation of faith cultivated at Bethany which showed me how to defend and discern Truth – through classes, daily chapel and Bible studies – that I might know and share that “only one thing is needful.”

What you remember most about Bethany:

I will always cherish the sense of community at Bethany. I’ve had two opportunities in my life so far to experience what I might call true Christian community, in which members not only know the love of the Good Shepherd but also where sheep, themselves, demonstrate genuine, Christ-like care for other members of the flock. I first found such a community at Bethany, and it altogether changed the way I aspired to (imperfectly) love my neighbor. Now more than two years since I graduated, I still find myself missing Bethany most every day.

Advice for current students:

Take advantage of Bethany’s small size! Not at very many schools can you be involved in sports and music and clubs simultaneously; not at very many schools do you have the opportunity to get to know your professors like you do at Bethany; or benefit from the individualized attention you receive as one of five students in a class. There is so much to be gained personally and academically in such a setting, just as it also affords an incredible capacity for you to give and to serve.