Joshua Usani

Joshua Usani"If I could touch people's lives..."

Joshua Usani, City College 2011, was inspired to pursue science when he watched his mother, a nurse, give vaccines to poor children in his native Nigeria. He decided on a medical career when, as part of an ambulance corps, he helped save a man’s life.

“I resolved that if I could touch people’s lives in this very basic, yet powerful way, the satisfaction I would receive would justify all the challenges associated with the pursuit of a medical career,”said Usani, one of eight CUNY students awarded Jonas E. Salk Scholarships to study in the medical field in 2011. The prestigious University awards, which provide an $8,000 stipend over three or four years to help defray medical school costs, recognize students who are judged likely to make significant contributions to medicine and research.

Usani, a biology major, seeks to understand how the immune system attacks the body in autoimmune diseases, and to develop treatments. In his project, he used a confocal microscope to identify the distribution of lysosomes in specialized epithelial cells in the thymus. These thymic nurse cells are crucial in T-cell development.

He will attend Yale University School of Medicine in the fall.