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Local Scientist, Firefighter, EMT now a Gates Cambridge Scholar

Fire-Rescue NewsFrom the Atlantic City Press Published: Monday, March 17, 2008

By MICHELLE LEE Staff Writer, 609-272-7256

Michael Hayoun is a scientist, firefighter and emergency medical technician. Now, the Margate resident and Rutgers University senior will travel to the United Kingdom in the fall and add another title to his resume: Gates Cambridge scholar.

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Hayoun, 22, is one of three Rutgers University students and 45 students nationwide who will head to the University of Cambridge to study for one year on a scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The psychology and cell biology/neuroscience major will study graduate-level bioscience enterprise. Hayoun wants to focus on translational medicine, which takes research discoveries and applies them to patient care. His ultimate goal is to become a doctor, work at a pharmaceutical company or start his own medical company.

"I'm really psyched about it. It's an opportunity to network, it's a five-plus rated program in the British system, the best you can get," Hayoun said. "It's a chance to learn and work outside of the United States, because science isn't just done here. It's done all over the world."

Hayoun, a 2004 Atlantic City High School graduate, said he initially became interested in science six years ago when he took an Advanced Placement chemistry class. He also was interested in medicine because he grew up with a number of food allergies (dairy, soy, nuts and seafood) and always visited doctors for treatment.

During high school, Hayoun pursued his scientific interest by becoming an emergency medical technician with Mutual Aid Emergency Services, a private nonprofit ambulance service based in Somers Point, and a firefighter with the Longport Fire Department. He still works for both companies when he is home from college, and he works for Rutgers Emergency Services and the River Road Fire Company during the academic year.

Barry Bruner, chief officer of Mutual Aid Emergency Service, praised Hayoun, who was among the top in his emergency medical technician class. "He's the type of person if you're out looking for a doctor, you'd want Mike Hayoun because he's not only a perfectionist as a technician, but he's also a personable person," Bruner said. "He'd be one of those rare doctors that would have a bedside manner."
Hayoun also is active in a number of other health and science-related activities. For the past two summers, Hayoun was an intern studying schizophrenia at the Wyeth Princeton Research Center. He is a leader and involved in several student groups, including the Rutgers American Medical Students Association, the Rutgers chapter of the Student Society for Stem Cell Research and co-founder of the Rutgers chapter of the Foundation for the International Medical Relief of Children. During this past winter break, Hayoun said he and a group of 25 other Rutgers students traveled to Huancayo, Peru, to volunteer at the government-owned Hospital El Carmen. The doctors in both countries are highly trained, but Hayoun was surprised at the lack of medical equipment in the Peruvian hospital. "You see normally what you see in Americans," he said. "But you see things differently because (Peruvians) don't have the technology."

Hayoun is currently working on his thesis, which focuses on the neurobiology of fear conditioning. Tim Otto, a Rutgers associate professor in the psychology department, has known Hayoun for four years. Otto said Hayoun has done well as a scientist and will eventually make great contributions to the field. "In addition to being a great student and being a leader among undergraduates, he's a nice kid, a nice guy," Otto said. "He's enjoyable to work with, and I'll miss him."
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