Alumni Zach Walsh ’14 visits IRP students

On February 17, 2021, Zach Walsh ’14 returned to the Hilltop virtually to speak to the Independent Research students about his research experiences in immunotherapy for pediatric leukemia, where scientists have altered the body’s own immune system to fight the blood cancer.  

One student reflected that they “really enjoyed hearing about the variations in the efficacy of chemotherapy and CAR-T Cell in preventing relapses and encouraging remission of acute leukemia. I think it is really important to note how the drug does not have 100% efficacy, long term, in any scenario. While this might seem expected, it is the driving force behind Zach’s research and continuing studies done by scientists around the world. These numbers and his research are indicative of the wider goal in science research — there is always another step to be taken to improve the efficacy and cancer relapse by any amount, small or large.” 

Another student remarked about Zach’s visit, “I think this is one of the first one’s where I’ve understood basically all the content. The graphics were really helpful, colorful, and all around really clear.  It was definitely a really good example of a presentation that we should aspire to make.”  Our students were inspired by this profound work, and many are now considering studying medicine!  Hackley’s IRP wishes Zach the best of luck as he pursues his MD/PhD at Columbia University. 

Note: All alumni/parents with present or past experiences in scientific research have a standing invitation to back and visit the Independent Research Program. Our future scientists love hearing your stories, and these talks are formative for their careers. If you are interested, please reach out to Dr. Andrew Ying (