Dissecting a deer heart in sixth grade science class in East Aurora was the beginning of Alex Merriman’s love of science. His curiosity led to high school work at the Hauptmann-Woodward Medical Research Institute, research at a lab in Israel in July and soon college study that could lead to a career in cardiology.
“I’ve always thought the circulatory system was really cool,” said Merriman speaking by cell phone from freshman orientation.
Before moving into the dorms at Duke University this week, Merriman came home from a summer stay at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. After a scientist at Hauptmann suggested it, he applied for and won a place in a study program that hosted about 80 science-loving students from 17 countries.
At Hauptmann, Merriman used a computer to analyze protein structure. The work left him curious about “wet” lab work studying organisms up close. At Weizmann, he got to probe zebra fish embryos and cells from human umbilical veins.
He hopes the experience will lead to another lab research post at Duke. He also intends to look into a less esoteric consideration at his new North Carolina home: Where to find decent chicken wings, something he missed in Israel.
“I enjoy wings a lot,” he said. “I’m going to hopefully talk with other Buffalo people and see if they know of any good wing places here.”
Also this week:
• The Aurora Town Board meets for at 7 p.m. Monday at the Southside Municipal Center auditorium, 300 Gleed Avenue.