Dr Keller and Preston

Alumni You Should Know: Preston Wolfe ’17, Ph.D. student at the University of Missouri Department of Orthopedic Surgery

This Thursday, March 24, 2022, will be a pretty big day in the life of Preston Wolfe ’17.

A Bachelor of Science degree recipient in Biology with a Pre-Med concentration from William Woods, Wolfe is scheduled to defend his dissertation to a doctoral board at the University of Missouri’s Department of Orthopedic Surgery on that day. After four years in MU’s graduate program in the Thompson Laboratory for Regenerative Orthopedics, he is on track to graduate with his Ph.D. this May.

Big things are in store for the former Owls’ student-athlete (Track and Field), but before he achieves his lofty career goals, he made sure to give back to the place that set him on course for his success, his alma mater.

Last month, as part of William Woods’ annual Student Performance Review days, Wolfe gave a 50-minute presentation in which he discussed his educational journey in becoming a graduate research assistant with Thompson Laboratory for Regenerative Orthopedics. He then shared his knowledge on the pathobiology of developmental hip dysplasia by presenting his research the “Evaluation of Serum and Urine Biomarkers for Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip” to WWU Biology majors and faculty.

Preston Wolfe

“It was an honor and great experience to return to campus and present the research I have been completing my last four years,” said Wolfe. “The overall goal of my research is to understand the pathomechanisms of Develomental Dysplasia of the hip and how it presents itself through tissue-specific metabolism from the joint as it progresses to early-onset secondary osteoarthritis of the hip. We hope this research will present unique targets for treatment to delay osteoarthritis  in this specific pathology and provide future objective protein biomarker panels from a blood or urine sample.”

The speaking invitation was extended to Wolfe from his advisor while he was at William Woods, Dr. Kimberly L. Keller, on behalf of the WWU Biology Department. Every year, the Biology faculty invite researchers in the local area to visit campus and give a presentation on their research and their education/career path.

“The Biology faculty were pleased to have an alumnus on campus, and it was clear to all that Preston has truly found his niche and is going to make significant contributions to his field,” said Dr. Keller. “Our science faulty here at The Woods have built a superb program, and Preston’s success is a tribute to their work.”

Returning to William Woods also gave Wolfe an opportunity with current WWU students, in the same place where Wolfe himself was just five years ago, to discuss his career path. Back in the fall of 2017, just a few months after departing The Woods, he began graduate school at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, in Aurora, Colorado, with a plan was to obtain a Masters Degree and then apply to medical school. However, Wolfe soon realized that he was drawn more to the orthopedic portion of medicine. So he applied, was accepted, and transferred to the University of Missouri Department of Orthopedic Surgery graduate program in the Thompson Laboratory for Regenerative Orthopedics.  He works with Dr. James Cook as his advisor in the Ph.D. program.

“It was good to share with the students at William Woods the path of how my education has gone,” said Wolfe. “The progress of my education to the point where I am now has been influenced by countless individuals from time at WWU and now at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and I am very thankful.”

Wolfe already has a summer internship arranged with Arthrex, a global medical device company and leader in new product development and medical education in orthopedics located in Naples, Florida. He is also in the process of applying and interviewing for different Post-Doctoral Research positions. His future in the cutting-edge world of orthopedic medicine is laid out in front of him, with unlimited potential.

A potential that was perhaps first realized, and significantly nurtured, at William Woods.