KSLA Salutes: From the flightline to the research lab

Airman Michael Guderyon
Updated: Aug. 10, 2018 at 1:12 PM CDT
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BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - Being in the Air Force Reserve means you split your life, working for the military part-time and a civilian job the the other.

One reservist with the 307th Bomb Wing headquartered at Barksdale Air Force Base, spends his civilian time in the research lab, on the forefront of genetics research.

"Coming from a small town there wasn't too many options," explained Air Force MSgt Michael Guderyon, "When I graduated high school I didn't plan to go to college, so I didn't prepare for college. So I walked into school not knowing exactly how much work went into this type of career and it's one of those things sink or swim, and the Air Force really taught me, gave me the discipline and structure to make sure I could succeed."

Guderyon joined the Air Force Reserves 13 years ago, working in the Structural Shop for the 307th Bomb Wing. When he's not examining the structure of the B-52s, he's in the lab at UT Health San Antonio.

"I had a high school teacher who showed me an article where they took a type of worm and they extended the lifespan," recalled MSgt Guderyon, "My question to him after that was 'why can't they do that in humans?' and he literally told me (laughs) go find out. go figure it out."

And that's what he's doing. Since joining the Air Force, Guderyon has earned his associates, bachelors and masters degree, all while upholding his commitment to serving our country.

"I really enjoy the challenge, when I was in high school I wasn't strong in biology (laughs) and that's what I ended up majoring in."

Now Guderyon is on the forefront of genetics research in the final leg of his PhD program.  His research group focuses on bone-marrow transplants using stem cells.

"We can safely remove the patients bone marrow, from there treat it, it's different from patient to patient, treat it, and then put it back in and this removes the need for a donor, for a donor match."

In theory, they can potentially cure or treat over twenty-five different diseases including sickle-cell anemia and HIV.

"Ideally I would like to take our technology that we're working on and move it forward into a start up company and move it through clinical trials. "

However Guderyon continues to put the mission first, he's even to deployed twice with the 307th Bomb Wing.

"A lot of these guys out here, a lot of the people I work with, I've worked with for over 10 years," he said, "and those the people who installed the structure and the discipline, and it's good to give back to some of the young airmen and those to follow."

Encouraging others never to be afraid to ask.

"I don't think enough questions are asked. It doesn't matter what it is, too many times I said I cannot do something, when the question I should have asked is how can I do something? What I found is there's a lot of people willing to help if you ask."

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