The Future Needs Dreamers like Chase

  • Written by Kristen Hamilton

Chase Warren may only be a recent high school graduate but he definitely knows what he wants and is doing everything he can to make his dream of becoming a Genetic Engineer a reality.

I met Chase and his biggest cheerleader, his mom Jennifer Warren, recently to chat about his recent trip to the Congress of Future Medical Leaders event in Boston, Massachusetts. 

chase drChase Warren at the Congress of Future Medical Leaders in Boston, Mass. (Courtesy photo)“It was an awesome experience,” Chase said of the event.  The Congress touts itself as the largest and most impactful gathering of future medical leaders.  Attendance is by academic nomination only and all students must have a minimum of 3.5 GPA to attend.   During the Congress students are able to view an actual surgery, learn about state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, and be mentored by some of the greatest minds in medicine.  Speakers included Nobel Prize Laureates, top medical school deans, and leaders in medical research and private industry.

Chase shared that he was able to meet his idol George M. Church, Ph.D. who is the Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.  Church and his team invented CRISPR for human stem cell genome editing and other synthetic biology technologies and applications.  This includes new ways to create organs for transplantation, gene therapies for aging reversal, and gene drives to eliminate Lyme disease and malaria.  CRISPR is of great interest to Chase.
He wants to get into research and hopes to help find cures for cancer and other diseases.  He developed an interest in the field after his Grandpa Reed was diagnosed with cancer and Chase wanted to help.  He even visited the doctor’s office at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center with his grandfather and shared his thoughts of possible treatment options with the doctor.  Sadly his grandfather has since passed away but Chase’s desire to help has only gotten stronger.  “In the next 20 years, we should have cures for all types of cancer,” said Chase.

He has chosen to attend Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman for the 2018/2019 school year.  Chase admitted that a big part of that decision was that “[he will be] able to get into the lab at WSU after only seven weeks of starting school.”  He said that at some schools students must wait a year or two before being able to access the lab but he was accepted to the Students Targeted toward Advanced Research Studies (STARS) program at WSU and that has opened up the door to access the lab much earlier. He said he has so many ideas relating to genetics and CRISPR that he wants to get started right away.  

Chase has spent his entire life in Woodinville.  He attended East Ridge Elementary then when he was in 6th grade the family transferred Chase and his brother Spencer to King’s Schools in Shoreline. The move to this private school was important to the Warren’s (Jennifer and her husband Randy) to help their kids have every available advantage.  The new school entailed a long daily commute for both boys but the family made it work. 

Chase took every science class he could at King’s and Biology – Anatomy and Physiology were his favorite classes.  He recently graduated and he feels very fortunate to have had the opportunity that King’s provided.  Chase said of the opportunity, “I have great parents.”

Throughout the years, Chase has always stayed involved with his church and the local community and has spent many afternoons volunteering at the Duvall Food Bank.

I asked Chase if he had any advice to pass along to other students with an interest in medicine.  “There is a ton of great information on the internet.  Amazing sources like John Green [Scientific Revolution], SciShow, Vsauce, and CrashCourse.”  He also added that it is important to remember, “Failure is part of success.”

Needless to say this Gen Z (aka Centennial) student has a lot of energy and I’m confident that he’ll do some pretty amazing things in the future.

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