Matt Odenwald

Matt Odenwald

Hometown: Belleville, IL
Undergraduate Institution: Washington University in St. Louis
Pritzker Activities: Community Health Clinic, MD/PhD Student Council
MD/PhD Program: Growth, Development, and Disabilities Training Program (GDDTP)
PhD Program & Project: Molecular Pathogenesis and Molecular Medicine; “The tight junction protein zonula occludens (ZO)-1 integrates epithelial morphogenesis”
PhD Mentor: Jerrold R. Turner, MD, PhD


Tell us about your research experience(s) at UChicago.

Like many Pritzker students, I took advantage of the opportunity to do research through the Summer Research Program (SRP). I found this experience to be so meaningful that I decided to apply to the Growth Development and Disabilities Training Program (GDDTP) and pursue a PhD in biology. I am grateful that Pritzker provided this unique opportunity to apply into an MD/PhD program after my initial enrollment in medical school. During the years spent working on my PhD, I was able to delve into scientific problems, learn the scientific process, and create a body of work within the field of epithelial cell biology. More specifically, I studied how epithelial cells form and maintain barriers with a particular focus on intestinal barrier function in Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

Why did you choose to attend Pritzker?

The people – students, faculty, and staff are all amazing!

How would you describe your classmates?

As an MD/PhD student, I have had the unique opportunity to be a member of two classes at Pritzker, each with exceptional classmates! Some of the most important lessons in medical school have come from my classmates – both former and current. I was continuously impressed with my original classmates (class of 2013!) both inside and outside of the classroom, and when returning to Pritzker after graduate school, I was warmly welcomed into another diverse, outgoing, and fun class who impress me on a daily basis with their dedication and leadership.

What is your favorite thing to do in Chicago or the best thing about living in Chicago?

I can’t choose just one thing… Chicago is such an amazing city! The lake in the summer or the restaurants year-round!

What do you like to do in your free time?

Run, Bike, Enjoy new restaurants