Matthew Pelletier, Ph.D.
Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for a newer and richer experience.” Such a description on the adventure of life applies to this month’s Faculty Spotlight, Matthew Pelletier, Ph.D.
Dr. Pelletier serves Liberty University College of Osteopathic Medicine (LUCOM) as an Associate Professor of Human Genetics within the Department of Molecular and Cellular Sciences. His adventurist passion for life and activities outside of the classroom are what tailor his recognition. Recently, Dr. Pelletier travelled to West Palm Beach and the Florida Keys to continue in his endeavors of scuba diving. Within a 5-day span, he logged nine dives. Commenting on his experience, Dr. Pelletier said, “It was fantastic. Visibility under water was easily 50 feet. I saw some things that I have never seen before: Caribbean Reef Sharks, Goliath Grouper that were larger than me, large sting ray, and a barracuda that was longer than me.”
Introducing Dr. Pelletier to scuba diving was his older brother. “I first learned of diving in middle school; however, I never had the opportunity to try,” said Dr. Pelletier. “It was many years later celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary in Hawaii when I finally enrolled in an instructional diving program. That week I fell in love with scuba diving.” To his credit, Dr. Pelletier has logged over 80 dives in the last two years, despite living in rural areas.
Dr. Pelletier’s latest dive in Florida can be seen here.
One of his bucket list places to dive is the Caribbean island Bonaire. “Bonaire is known as the “shore dive capital of the world.” The island has beautiful tropical reefs with various depths all around and a minimal distance from the shore,” said Dr. Pelletier.
In addition to his aquatic adventures, Dr. Pelletier has conducted research on a genetic disease called propionic academia, prevalent in Amish communities near Houghton, NY. “Ultimately, that research will help us understand the pathophysiology of the disease that these specific communities experience and how to best treat it,” Dr. Pelletier.
Furthermore, this particular research allowed Dr. Pelletier to have an opportunity to become more familiar with a misunderstood culture. “I feel that I’ve made some friends in the community,” Dr. Pelletier stated. “It is extremely rewarding to be working on a problem that could one day really make a difference in the lives of people living with this disease.”
Prior to joining LUCOM, Dr. Pelletier taught Molecular and Cell Biology and Principles of Genetics at Houghton College. As an alumnus of Liberty University, he is excited to return as a founding faculty member at LUCOM. “Having the opportunity to shape the educational, social, and spiritual culture of this new medical institution from the ground up is unique. In many ways, this is the ideal position for me. I thoroughly enjoy teaching bright and eager students, and I love working with such a fine group of Christian people here at LUCOM. It’s a bonus that this position will allow me to be more actively involved in my research, as well.”