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Case student-athlete balances swimming, research on brain

Anthony Noto, a student-athlete at Case Western Reserve University, always wanted to be a doctor. While attending Greece Athena High School in Rochester, N.Y., the Case Western Reserve University freshman spent a great deal of time volunteering, including over 400 hours of service to a local hospital.

Through those experiences he met doctors and talked with patients but still was uncertain of what medical field he wanted to pursue. Noto bounced back and forth, once wanting to be a pediatrician and even a pathologist, but then a more hands-on experience provided him needed direction.

“I did some research the summer in between my junior and senior years in high school and really enjoyed it,” said Noto. “So then I wanted to find a position that would integrate both medicine and research.”

The summer before his junior year he was one of 50 students selected to research AIDS progression at Villanova University. That’s where he first became interested in research. The following summer he was one of fifteen selected by the University of Rochester to do research in its Laboratory for Laser Energetics.

That research paid dividends.

Noto’s research involving modeling a molecular property known as chirality earned him a semifinalist award at the Intel Science Talent Search, America's oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition. The award is awarded to only 300 students (out of nearly 2,000) nationwide for outstanding research.

“Basically, the research saves people time,” said Noto. “So instead of synthesizing a chemical compound and then determining the chirality, they could theoretically predict what it would be and then, if they wanted to, synthesize the compound.”

Noto is still employed by that lab, working remotely from Case. He is also working with them on publishing his research findings.

Neuroscience is the new forefront of this 18-year-old because he feels neurology is an unexplored field. Noto believes doctors know pretty much everything there is to know about the liver, for example, but not so much about the brain.

Being able to help reveal more insights into the brain through medical research would hit close to home.

“I want to solve a lot of problems, especially personal illness,” explained Noto. “My grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and I know that’s a hereditary disease. There are other people in my family who I’m sure will have it, and I know I can help if I try. That’s why I am driven.”

While in high school, Noto began applying to colleges that had a pre-professional scholar program, where students apply to a university’s undergraduate program and its professional school (medicine, dentistry, law, etc.) as high school seniors. If accepted, the student is automatically accepted to the school’s professional school provided he maintains a minimum grade point average. At Case, students must maintain a 3.6 GPA.

“I was accepted into the medical program at a few top-tier universities,” said Noto. “The reason I choose Case was because it had more opportunities athletically and academically. It was a tough decision, but I made the right choice.”

Noto also took advantage of a program at Case where a student can create his own major and the dean approves it. Noto chose neuroscience.

“I researched the neuroscience major at different universities around the country and found out what was in their programs,” explained Noto. “Case offers so many different kinds of courses in different departments that I was able to create a program for myself.”

Noto will only be an undergrad at Case for three years, completing in the spring of 2007 with a degree in neuroscience. From there he will move right into medical school at Case. The first four years of med school are standard, but after that he will do his residency (two years) in neurology. After that Noto will either begin practicing neuroscience or get a doctorate and focus on research.

How does Noto juggle working on his academics as well as his backstroke as a member of Case’s varsity swimming and diving team? He has never experienced anything different, and he most likely will finish his fourth year of college eligibility in the pool during his first year of med school.

“I have never really had a problem balancing school and swimming,” said Noto. “At the beginning of this year there were times where I didn’t think I could swim, but the two have complimented each other nicely. I can’t imagine myself going to school and not swimming.”

HIGH SCHOOL HYPE

In the water at Greece Athena High School, Noto was a varsity member all four years and improved his times each season. In the classroom, Noto finished with a 4.2 grade point average and was his school’s salutatorian.

 

About Case Western Reserve University

Case is among the nation's leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work. http://www.case.edu.