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Theron Gilliland Jr.

Theron grew up in an economically-depressed area north of Pittsburgh until the age of 18. He went to a small religious private college in southwest Michigan and majored in Molecular Biology. After college, he moved to the D.C. area, whereupon he soon realized that he had compartmentalizated his strongly-held mainline Protestant religious beliefs from his knowledge of science. He did a lot of soul-searching and came to identify with the non-theist Quakers. He moved to Baltimore seven years later for graduate school and earned a Master's degree in Cellular and Molecular Physiology from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He currently works at the University of Pittsburgh in the Center for Vaccine Research and has lived in Pittsburgh since early 2015.

Despite coming from a racially segregated geographical area, he has a great interest in other peoples and cultures, and fostering greater intercultural understanding and advocating for racial justice. As a gay-identified pansexual, he also finds intersections of ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and culture to be fascinating. And finally, an enthusiasm for politics is both a blessing and a curse as he is often extremely frustrated with both the Democratic party's neo-liberalism and the Republican party's unadulterated evil.

Theron's interests are exceedingly varied. He is passionate about the biomedical sciences, but he also finds deep enjoyment in the physical sciences, such as chemistry and astronomy. This is part of a sincere love of philosophy, especially epistemology and metaphysics; his affinity for empiricism is also reflected in his career path. He's more religion-friendly than you might think, due to fascination with religion as a widespread anthropological phenomenon. He has a talent for languages and can communicate in five of them with varying degrees of fluency. His most recent avocational pursuit is the ancient history of Mesopotamia, Egypt, Anatolia, Persia, and the Levant.


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