Aiden Pike: Outstanding Graduating Student

Aiden Pike of Searsmont, Maine is the Outstanding Graduating Student in the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry, and Agriculture. He is a double major in biochemistry, and molecular and cellular biology, with minors in French and chemistry. The Honors College student, who will receive two bachelor’s degrees, also is in the 4+1 master’s bioinformatics program with the Roux institute at Northeastern University. His numerous academic honors include a Visual and Performing Arts Scholarship, the Professor Frederick H. Radke Award and the Honors INBRE Thesis Fellowships in Comparative Functional Genomics. His honors thesis is: “The Role of Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase IV in Regulating JC Polyomavirus Infection.” Pike has been a student researcher in professor Melissa Maginnis’ laboratory, studying how the immune response is implicated in JC polyomavirus infection and the signaling mechanisms that the virus may take advantage of to gain control of the host cell. He also spent a summer as a research fellow at MDI Biological Laboratory. On campus, Pike has been a teaching assistant and a course facilitator, and a member of the Pride of Maine Black Bear Marching Band and the Concert Band. With the completion of his master’s degree, Pike plans to apply to an M.D./Ph.D. program to study infectious diseases and practice translational medicine.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?
The biggest impact that UMaine has made is giving me so many opportunities to perform research and gain experience doing so. Coming into the biochemistry program, I was met with BMB 150, which is a crash course into how to research a novel topic. Not only that, but UMaine has provided me with so many different opportunities, like being a teaching assistant for the phage course and a course facilitator for HON 170, that I would not have been able to experience otherwise.

Why UMaine? 
I chose to come to the University of Maine for the research experiences that I knew were available. In high school, I knew I wanted to join science and gain the experience of performing research, and I thought that coming to UMaine would give me the most and greatest opportunities for this.

How would you define the opportunities for student success at UMaine? Is there any particular initiative, program or set of resources that helped you succeed? 
UMaine has so many opportunities to do what you want to do and there are many people here who want to help you find them. One of the greatest opportunities on campus is getting involved in research, regardless of your major. There are so many resources for getting to perform research at the university. That is such an irreplaceable experience and had such a profound impact on my time here.

Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better? 
For the past three years, I have been able to work with professor Melissa Maginnis through the majority of my undergraduate career. She has always been in my corner, advocating for me and pushing me to do more and better.

What advice do you have for incoming students to help them get off to the best start academically? 
Do not be afraid to reach out to people! The professors are here to help you and have a genuine interest in your success, and students further along in a program know the feelings you are experiencing.

Contact: Margaret Nagle,