Quinton Nannet works in Professor Joe Ogas’s lab at Purdue University studying epigenetics, which concerns heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. He began his research in August and will continue through next semester. Nannet was named Outstanding Sophomore in the College of Agriculture this year.
Quinton Nannet works in Professor Joe Ogas’s lab at Purdue University studying epigenetics, which concerns heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in the DNA sequence. He began his research in August and will continue through next semester. Nannet was named Outstanding Sophomore in the College of Agriculture this year.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — If there’s anyone who wants to make a difference in the lives of others, it’s Quinton Nannet.

Nannet, a sophomore from New Richmond, is a hardworking student studying biochemistry at Purdue University. His involvement with the College of Agriculture, research and grades earned him the title of this year’s College of Agriculture Outstanding Sophomore.

He shared his Purdue experience, including plans for the future and his drive to help others, with AgriNews:

Q: Why did you want to go to Purdue?

A: At first, it was pretty hard. I had it narrowed down to eight universities. I had always wanted to get out of the state, so most were in California, Colorado, Florida, one in Texas and one in Tennessee. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone.

But then when I realized I wanted to go to med school, in-state tuition caught my eye, being able to graduate without a lot of debt. I didn’t realize the College of Agriculture had such a strong science department.

My family had always been involved with Purdue Ag, and I had wanted to break the trend and go somewhere else. But during tours in the Department of Agriculture, I realized this university in my backyard was making a big difference in the world.

Q: How has it been so far?

A: It’s been great. Adjusting first semester went pretty well. Second semester, I really started to get involved on campus. I started a Med Life chapter here, which stands for medicine education development for low-income families everywhere.

That focuses on mobile clinics in South America, India and Africa. It gets new students involved in global aid. That’s what I’m passionate about. I want to do a lot with international medicine in developing countries.

Q: What other activities are you involved with?

A: I got involved with Purdue Student Government. Sophomore year, I joined a fraternity, and I’m the social chair. I’m a supervisor for Boiler Gold Rush. I’m an Ag Ambassador also. With that I talk about how agriculture encompasses everything. I’ll talk with perspective students, returning alumni and industry representatives as well.

Q: Have you studied abroad?

A: Last summer, I spent five weeks in Venezuela on a mission trip. This summer, I’ll go to Dominican Republic with a study-abroad program about public health and Spanish.

Q: Have you participated in undergraduate research?

A: I currently do research in Dr. Ogas’s lab. It’s epigenetics — which means “on top of the genome.” It’s the study of what changes phenotypes without altering genotypes. Learning what turns genes on or off.

Currently, we’re looking at specific genes present in plants. Plants don’t get cancer, but the symptoms are as close to cancer as you can imagine. I’m looking to see what interacts with that gene. What genes, when they’re absent, make the plants sicker?

Q: What do you do for fun?

A: Boiler Gold Rush is a lot of fun and takes a lot of time. I like to hang out with the other supervisors. Our fraternity has a lot of philanthropies, and hanging out with my brothers there is fun.

Interacting with people — at all the events and with ag ambassadors — that’s some of the most fun I have. It’s a good fit for me at the College of Agriculture, at a university and college based on relationships. It’s seen by faculty and students on a daily basis.

Q: What do you want to do after college?

A: I plan to go to medical school. I don’t know what I want to specialize in yet. I think emergency room medicine or infectious disease are more interesting to me. I’d like to work in the U.S. and travel to developing countries where inadequate healthcare situations are present.

One of my main goals involves public health — implementing agriculture in those areas. In places that suffer from epidemics, the leading issue is now nutrition. As a doctor with a background in agriculture, I can hopefully attack diseases and issues from both angles — better ag techniques, as well as combating infections directly.

Q: Are you excited to be named Outstanding Sophomore in the College of Ag?

A: I consider it a huge privilege. To be recognized for the things I do means a lot, especially when you consider how many great students go to this university and the College of Agriculture. It means a lot.