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Meet Alex Van Scoyk!

Deininger Lab (Oncological Sciences)


Tell me a little about yourself. Where are you from, what degree(s) do you have? What are your interests?

I am originally from Southern Utah. I have a degree in chemistry and a minor in toxicology from Oregon State University.  After undergrad, I worked in Dr. David Weinstock’s laboratory at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) for two years studying lymphoid neoplasms.


Why did you choose the U for graduate school?

The main reason for me was to be close to my family. When I applied to graduate school I made a deal with myself that if I got in I was going to get a dog.  The U has a great work/life balance that allowed getting a dog possible.  One week after classes started I adopted Max... best decision!


Tell me about your lab. What do you study?

I joined the Deininger/O’Hare Lab in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Our lab focuses on the biology of myeloproliferative neoplasms and the development of molecular targeted therapies.


Why did you choose to join your lab?

There are three main reasons I joined the D/O lab. First, everyone in the lab is super amazing.  During my rotation they were all so nice and welcoming. From the start they really made me feel like I was part of the lab.  Second, it’s a translational lab. Having a connection between the clinic and lab was something very important to me. Lastly, having both Dr. Deininger and Dr. O’Hare is amazing.  Both are incredible scientists and having input and guidance from both of them will help me be a better researcher.


What do you like most about living in Salt Lake City?

Unlike almost everyone in our class, I am not super outdoorsy. Other than snowboarding, it takes some serious convincing for me to really to do anything outdoors. So, for me my favorite thing about Salt Lake is trying to find new restaurants or go cool patios where I can bring my dog and have a good drink. Salt Lake is a midway stop for a lot of amazing bands, so going to concerts is also something I love to do.


What do you like the least?

I guess I may be biased because I am from here, but drivers here aren’t the best.  Living in Boston for a few years I thought I knew what bad driving was but I have been proven wrong. 


What do you like most about being a graduate student?

All of the people that I get to work with and learn from.  I love research and being able to become more independent and confident in my work is amazing.




What types of things do you do outside of class and lab?

Spending time with my dog, friends or family. Trying new restaurants or bars.  I love watching soccer, so having two professional teams is awesome. Going to concerts. Just hanging out and relaxing at home.


What does a typical weekday look like for you?

During the week I am a hermit most days and I like to relax with my dog Max on the couch or in the park but I do try to go out with friends at least once. We usually try to find a new place each week. For lab my hours are flexible but I choose to go in around 8-9 and go home around 4-5ish. 


What does a typical weekend look like for you?

For me weekends are usually spent doing the “adult stuff” such as grocery shopping, cleaning, etc.  Most weekends my dog and I try out a new coffee place, I get coffee and he gets whipped cream. Some weekends I make a trip home to see my family and while I am there grab some Hawaiian food. 


What advice would you give to someone applying and interviewing for graduate school?

Have confidence in yourself.  For me I really struggled with imposter syndrome during my application and interview process. Also, find people that will help you and always ask for help when you need it.  I had incredible friends and mentors help me throughout applications/interviews for graduate school.

Last Updated: 9/28/21