Author Archives: Tavon Cates

Merz Cover Letter

TaVon Cates

March 8th, 2016

Dear Merz Intersnship Committee,

I would first like to thank you for taking the time to review my application, resume, cover letter, and for considering me to be a part of your company. Your dermatology and neuroscience based healthcare facility really stood out to me, considering that I aspire to be a future dermatologist. I am a first year with the credits of a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel hill, one of the best rigourous schools for medicine in the country. I am earning bachelors of science major in biology with a minor in chemistry. I have been interested in dermatology for a while now, some reasons for my interest in dermatology would be that my family has a pattern of skin conditions such as Eczema. My aunt has a rare and fatal skin condition called Steven-Johnsons syndrome that caused her to stay in the UNC hopsitals’ burn center for several weeks. I have infomally shadowed some of the nurses and doctors there during my visits to her.

I am CPR trained, which is always good when dealing with healthcare. I have not done a whole lot of job shadowing and research in the field, but I believe that your company would be an amazing start. I think that the job shadowing, networking opportunities, faculty discussions, etc. that you provide will be amazing experience. I look forward to shadowing some of dermatologists that you have on staff. I have completed three levels of biology and two levels of chemistry, which all include a lab component. So I have at least basic understanding of biologhy and chemistry as well as being familiar around a lab, which is recommended in the application along with being a junior or senior in an undergraduate program.

I was nominated two years in a row to become a part of the national academy for future physicians and medical students, but due to circumstances was not able to attend. I see that some of the activities includes service projects, lunch and learns, networking events, and training opportunities. I was a member of my high school national honors society so we did a lot of service projects around the area so I am fimiliar with those. Being trained in multiple positions for the job that I have been working for almost three years has helped me to become a quick study and be able to pick up new skills easily so learning new skills is no challenege.

I have a few family members who are in the medical field and have had the pleasure to go to work with them and see what it is actually like to work in the medical field. Although none of them are dermatologists, I still have a sense of what it like to work in a hospital or a clinic. I have been in many chemisty as well as biology labs these last two years so I know my way around a lab pretty well. These labs have taught me how to follow instructions and conduct a lab with little help from a supervisor. It taught me how to act on my own and trust my judgement. Again, thank you for you time in considering me to be a part of your company.


TaVon Cates.

Merz Healthcare Profile.

After weighing all of my options, I have decided that Merz healthcare company is the company for me. Merz healthcare is not like regular healthcare companies, it specifies in dermatology and the neurosciences. Their mission is to develop and commercialize innovative, high-quality treatment solutions in aesthetics, dermatology and neurosciences in the U.S. and Canada. I have decided that this would likely be the best opportunity for me considering that I plan on going into the field of dermatology. Merz has healthcare facilities not only in the United States, but also has facilities in Canada. If chosen, I will be a part of the Raleigh, North Carolina facility.

Merz is offering an amazing program for undergraduate students in the area. The internship is going to last approximately ten weeks. The duration is going to be about late May to early August. This is a fulltime, hourly internship opportunity. During these ten weeks, the interns will have many amazing opportunities to get their feet wet and experience dermatology and neuroscience up close and personal. Each of the interns will be assigned a mentor for the ten weeks. The mentors are going to be a guide for the interns. We will be working with them as well as other interns to complete projects and see all of what Merz has to offer.

There are a few qualifications that applicants must meet in order to earn the Internship with Merz. The first would be that every applicant must be enrolled in a graduate program or be a junior or senior in their undergraduate program. All applicants must also be able to pass a background check as well as drug testing before prior to employment. The only additional paperwork that will need to be submitted with the application would be either a resume or a cv.

Merz has many interesting and helpful activities already planned out for their interns. They will be working with mentors as well as each other to complete community service projects, lunch and learns with executive leaders, cross functional training opportunities, as well as networking events. There are many things that could come from interning with Merz. One thing that stood out to me the most was the networking events and the lunch and learns with executive leaders. You can be a part of this internship and other internships as well as opportunities could come out of it. Not only will we be able to see whether dermatology or neurosciences are for us, but we will get to see if the work load, commitment, etc. is feasible for us.

The pros for this internship is that it is exactly what I am looking for. There are not many dermatologist in the field so to get an internship with a company that specializes in dermatology is like a dream come true. There are many ways to make connections through Merz and many opportunities that are too good to pass up. Since it is located and Raleigh and close to home, there are no room or board fees. There is no cost to be an intern whatsoever. I am not 100% sure whether or not the internship is paid, but I believe that it is.

Printers Saves Lives: One Structure at a Time.

3D heart

3d printed heart model

TaVon Cates

Did you know that on average, 21 people die every day waiting on an organ transplant? According to the American Transplant Foundation, there is more than 123,000 people in the United States currently waiting on an organ transplant to save their lives and someone is added to that list every 12 minutes!

The American Transplant Foundation also says that over 6,500 people die every year waiting on the organ transplant. Many people are organ donors, but a lot of their organs are not donated until after they are dead. Now with the average life expectancy at almost 80 years, help comes either too late or not at all for many people.

The increasing in technology in the modern age may have a solution for this. A technique that has been around for quite some time and the uses are ever changing, 3-Dimensional printing.

Burger and fries

Here we see a 3D Printed Burger and Fries.

3D printing is a technique in which objects are constructed from digital data. It almost like a regular printer, except it prints in layers and takes a little longer than an average printer. Many scientists are taking this technique into the medical field.

With the help of 3D printing, 3D printed organs have become a reality. However, because this technology is relatively new in the field, there are still a few kinks being worked out.

3D printing has been especially helpful for cardiologists, especially those dealing with congenital heart disease. 3D printing has helped to produce accurately printed, realistic, 3D hearts. These 3D models can help increase procedural efficiency because cardiologist would be able to have a model of the patients’ heart to examine and “operate” on before the actual procedure takes place. This procedure will also increase patient safety because the doctors would have already done the procedure before.

One instance of this procedure being used would be the case of four month old Lucy. She suffered from heart failure, which starved her Kidney’s. Her father offered to donate his Kidney so she wouldn’t have to be on dialysis for the rest of her life.


The top left is Lucys’ father Kidney with actual living cells.

Doctors made a 3D model of both Lucy’s abdomen as well as her fathers’ kidney. With these, they made it clear to Lucy’s parents how such a large kidney would fit into such a small child. After doing the procedure on the 3D models, they were able to successfully transplant the Kidney into Lucy and change her life.

Another one of these life changing operations was done on four year old Mia. Her early childhood was filled would numerous bouts of colds, pneumonia, shortness of breath, etc. She wasn’t able to do many of the things that she loved such as dance. It was dismissed as asthma and she was prescribed asthma medications.

It took nearly 10 hospital stays for doctors to realize that the cause was much worse. They found that her aorta, the vessel that carries blood from the heart, and was pushing against the windpipe, which caused the shortness of breath and made it hard to swallow.

They were able to save her life because the hospital had recently gotten a 3D printer that makes EXACT replicas of organs. They saw the malformed aorta in the model and was able to ponder how they would fix the problem and do practice operations without actually harming the four year old.

Dr. Burke, the leading doctor, said that without the 3D replica, he would not have been as confident operating on Mia. He says that without the replica, the healing time as well as the pain and the experience for Mia would have been much worse.

One case study on the topic would be the Russian 3D printing company, 3D bioprinting solutions. The company has made an amazing advancement in 3D printing organs for transplants. In March of 2015, the company reported having made a working 3D model of a thyroid gland of a mouse. The replicated thyroid gland was able to carry out all of the functions that a regular thyroid gland would.

In November of 2015, the same company proudly announced that they had successfully transplanted the working thyroid gland into a live mouse and the mouse lived with no complications from the organ or the procedure.

This is a big accomplishment because regular thyroid transplants are not normally done because of all the complications that could come from the surgery such as infection. 3D organs are ideal for transplants because they are made up of the organism’s cells, therefore it has a much lower chance of being rejected by the body.

Organs are not the only thing that is able to be implanted thanks to 3D printing. Two men who suffered from cancer lives’ were changed thanks to 3D printing. One needed a sternum (chest plate) as well as a rib cage. Doctors were able to create a sternum and rib cage that exactly matched his anatomy through 3D printing. The second man lost half of his pelvis to cancer and was able to get a replica transplanted to complete the other half.


The 3D printed medal rib cage and sternum before and after transplanted into the patient.

21 people die every day because they cannot get the transplant they need to save their life. You have read about numerous people whose lives have been saved and changed thanks to 3D printing. The technology is still relatively new, so as it progresses and advances, tens of people will not lose their lives every day waiting on an organ or bone structure.

3D printing Query Letter

TaVon Cates

Sarah Boyd

English 105i


The Next Big Thing in Medicine: 3D Printing.

Dear Sarah Boyd,

My name is TaVon Cates and I am a biology major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I am doing research on a relatively new scientific innovation that I am sure your readers would love to hear about. I know that your brand is always looking for the next big thing, so no need to look any further because 3D printing to save lives is it. Many know that 3D printing has been around for years, now they’re bringing an old invention and putting it into new uses. 3D printing can be thought of like printing in layers to build a 3D object.

World renowned doctors are everyday understanding more and more about a newly found technology in the medical world that will save many lives. 3D printing in the use of transplants in the operating room. There have been many advancements in this field, especially within the last 2-3 years. There have already been a number of life-saving procedures done thanks to this technology. Many lives have been changed and many people grateful to be alive and performing everyday functions due to 3D Printing.

3D printing have helped create artificial bone structures such as a pelvis for a man who lost over half of his in his battle with cancer. 3D printing helped this man to walk again, something that the majority of people take for granted. A number of other structures have been created thanks to 3D printing such as kidneys, thyroids, stomach structures, and a number of other organs. Although there are still studies going on with this procedure, things seem promising for the future of the medical field and 3D printing.

This new technology is sure to change lives, much like the ones mentioned above. And it will continue to change lives over the years as the technology becomes more and more advanced. Soon, I’m sure with the technology, 3D printed hearts will be able to fully function and operate efficiently. 3D printed models of hearts have already been made with great precision in replicating an actual human heart. It is just a matter of time before we are able to implant a 3D model of just about any structure in the body.

As you can tell, 3D printing is the next big thing in medical technology. It is a subject that is being researched worldwide. There have already been successful organ transplants with 3D organs into live animals. The next step is full implants into humans, so the world should be hearing about this in the near future. Things to look forward in the actual article will be more specifics such as case studies on mice and the transplants they were able to do with them. A heartwarming article about how 3D printing help save a toddler’s life and many more ways 3D printing is going to change the world. Thank you for your time in reviewing my topic.


TaVon R. Cates

3D Printing Annotated Bib

Annotated Bibliography

Kurup, Harikrishnan, Bennett P. Samuel, and Joseph Vettukatil. “Hybrid 3D printing: a game changer in personalized cardiac medicine? Taylor Francis Online, 14 Oct. 2015. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.

3D printing is shown to be beneficial in many areas. This article focuses on heart disease and discuss how 3D printing could increase the procedural efficiency and patient safety in the congenital heart disease aspect. Accurate printed heart models have been able to be printed thanks to hybrid 3D printing, which is very beneficial to cardiologists. With this new technology, some cardiologists are even looking into printing 3D replicas for heart transplantations in the near future.

Murgia, Madhumita. “Toddler Gets World First Kidney Transplant Using 3D Printing.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 26 Jan. 2016. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

Lucy suffered from heart failure when she was only four months old, which starved her kidneys. They only way she would be able to live was a kidney transplant, which her father offered one of his kidneys for. The doctors at Great Ormond Street in Ireland used 3D printing to make detailed and accurate models for both the father kidney and Lucy’s stomach. Such a complicated and life threatening procedure could easily kill Lucy, but operating using the 3D models proved successful and helped save Lucy’s life. In 2014, a man had a 3D pelvis implanted because he lost half of his to cancer.

Ross, Joseph S., and Mark H. Michalski. “The shape of things to come: 3D printing in Medicine”. The Journal of the American Medical Association, 03 Dec. 2014. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.

Broad overview of 3D printing, which is a technique where objects are built from digital data. 3D printing has already been used for transplants in the dental field for over ten years. 3D printing has been used by many head and neck surgeons as a way to prepare for complex surgeries. This helps surgeons to be able to reduce operating room time as well as improving surgical results. 3D printing can also be tailored to individual patient’s anatomy. 3D printing organs are used to test drugs and their toxicity on human tissues.

Scott, Clare. “3D Bioprinting Solutions Succeeds in Performing the First 3D Printed Thyroid Transplant.” 3DPrintcom. 3DR Holdings, 04 Nov. 2015. Web. 28 Jan. 2016.

In March of 2015, Russian 3D printing company, 3D bioprinting solutions, reported having printed a working thyroid gland for a mouse. And in November of 2015, the same company reported successfully transplanting working thyroid glands into live mice. A benefit of 3D printed organs is that it is a much lower chance of the body rejecting the organ because it is the organism’s cells being printed. This is a big accomplishment because traditional thyroid transplants normally aren’t performed because of all of the possible complications.

“SmarTech Markets Publishing; SmarTech Announces the Availability of Three New Reports on 3D Printing in Medicine.” ProQuest, 06 Sept. 2015. Web. 23 Jan. 2016.

3D printing used in implants, prosthetics, and medical modeling. 3D applications in medicine now includes the knee, shoulder, spine, and other cases where traditional treatment would not work. There have been printed orthotic devices to help with fracture healing, posture correction, vision correction, and healing aids. They are also used for practice to improve patient outcomes and anatomic modeling to expand the ability for professionals to treat difficult cases and increase the efficiency of many common procedures.



Autism in the Old Days

In the old day’s a lot of people were considered “idiots” because they were thought to be intellectually inferior to a lot of other people. although it turned out that a lot of those so called “idiots” possessed almost arcane abilities such as perfect pitch, the ability to multiply two and three digit numbers easily, and conversion skills from years to seconds. A lot of these people in modern day would be considered autistic.