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David Lasansky - UA Jazz & Research

Music has been a part of my life since my earliest memories. Both of my parents pursued music professionally - my mom plays flute and my dad plays clarinet and conducts. It was inevitable that I would spend a lot of my early years going to rehearsals with my parents as well as starting piano lessons at the age of 5. I took up a variety of different instruments as time went on, but eventually found one that really resonated with me which was the saxophone.

When it came time for me to start college, I faced a very difficult decision which was whether or not I would pursue music, as well. I saw both of my parents struggle over the years with their profession, and knew that if I followed in their steps I would have to be completely committed to my art in order to succeed. Both of them are excellent musicians, and to see people I held in such high esteem suffer for their career made me quite apprehensive.

I decided that I would go to college to study math and something to do with chemistry (I had no intentions on majoring in Biochemistry at first!). Math has always been my strongest subject throughout school, and I absolutely fell in love with chemistry during high school. However, not being able to play music was simply not an option, and fortunately through my connections I was able to audition for the University of Arizona’s Studio Jazz Ensemble. I have played baritone saxophone for 3 years in that band now and am now in my 4th and final year with the program.

Along with my majors and music, I have also been active in undergraduate research since September of my freshman year. Dr. Indraneel Ghosh let me in to his lab with no prior research experience one month into the beginning of my college experience. This has been one of the best parts of my time here at U of A, and I am still so grateful to Dr. Ghosh, Matt Bienick (Graduate student who supervises my work), and the rest of the Ghosh Lab for all the help, support, and training I have received.

Juggling my music and my research has definitely been difficult at points, but I could not see my life any other way. I feel incredibly honored to be able to perform a concert in the jazz band one night and then go into my lab the next day and run experiments which are aiming to understand the roles of enzymes in cellular signaling. I really feel like my time at U of A has been a dream come true for the most part.