Science can lead you to some unexpected places.

Just ask Aime Franco, Ph.D., an associate professor in the UAMS College of Medicine Department of Physiology and Biophysics, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer at 22 but never expected to make a career out of researching it.

Franco gave the keynote talk July 25 to the students, mentors, administrators and guests gathered for the seventh annual Central Arkansas Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium. She initially wanted to be a physician, but then her training led down a different path. She started in sports medicine, then nutrition science and H. pylori research before circling around to thyroid cancer. In 2018, her research efforts paid off through a four-year $791,000 grant award from the National Cancer Institute to support her work.