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These identical twins launched research careers – as freshmen

Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Three days after he started as an N.U.in freshman in Greece last fall, Dillon Nishigaya approached a biology professor about research opportunities. One day later, he was contributing to a breast cancer project. His identical twin, Dominic Nishigaya, has also been pursuing research as a Northeastern freshman in criminal justice. They are roommates on the Boston campus, supporting and pushing each other per their special relationship.

“It was a revelation for me that I would be getting involved in these things so soon,” says Dillon Nishigaya, who participated in ovarian cancer research after arriving at the Boston campus for spring semester. He recently received a $1,500 Northeastern PEAK Ascent Award to continue his research this summer. Dillon is especially driven by his own personal experience with medicine. He grew up with scoliosis, a curvature of the spine (an affliction that spared his brother), and at age 15 he decided to undergo a difficult surgical procedure.

“A lot of the time, when he’s having a hard time, I feel that,” Dominic says. “Back when we were younger, when he used to cry, I used to cry—just because he was crying. I definitely felt like I wished it was me in that chair going through that surgery.”

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