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Leading the pack — in the lab and on the course

While studying biochemistry, cross country runner Kyle Mudler ’25 sets the pace on understanding genetic disorders

Nov 03, 2023

Kyle presenting his research.

As a cross country runner, Kyle Mudler was drawn to North Central College because its men’s cross country program has long dominated NCAA Division III. Mudler wasn’t just impressed by the College’s tradition of great runners, however. A talented student interested in being a biochemistry major, Mudler was equally drawn to North Central’s tradition of smaller class sizes and collegial atmosphere, both of which make for a supportive, enriching academic experience.

“The small school atmosphere has really allowed me to develop valuable relationships with professors, allowing me to gain opportunities that otherwise would not have been possible — like research,” Mudler said.

A unique chance to conduct research arose through Mudler’s classes with Dr. Steve Johnston, professor of biology. The two forged a working relationship that led to collaboration in the lab over two academic terms. After seeing Mudler’s work and discovering his interests, Johnston sponsored Mudler and several of his classmates as they undertook a summer research project on Leigh syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that is often fatal for children three years of age and younger. 

Their research helps shed light on a disease about which very little is known. Their work could eventually help save and prolong lives — just the kind of impact Mudler hopes to have as he aspires to be an orthopedic surgeon who works with professional sports teams. Mudler believes his studies at North Central will go a long way in preparing him to achieve his goals. 

“While being a part of this project, I learned many things about the field of scientific research,” he said. “My confidence in the lab increased dramatically, and I was able to grow my interest in research and add to the current body of scientific literature.  

“I have found North Central has a strong science program which really prepares you with the skills needed post-graduation in the professional world. I have been very pleased with my experience at North Central, and I am glad I chose to come here.” 

Learn more about majoring in biochemistry at North Central College.