VERNON-Mark Henderson, a graduating senior from North Carolina State University and valedictorian of his class, is headed to medical school to continue his research in genetics. Henderson, of Vernon, is the son of James and Cynthia Henderson. He is a biological sciences major with a minor in genetics. Throughout his student career at NCSU, he has been actively studying and researching genetics, particularly the way the nervous system develops. He worked in the genetics lab on campus for three years. In the summer of 2003, he worked at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia helping to develop a therapy for lupus and other inflammatory diseases. While these research experiences helped narrow his career search, volunteering with Little Brothers of the Elderly inspired him to focus on neurodegenerative diseases of the elderly. "My visits with a housebound Raleigh woman were the highlight of my week," he said. His career path is set for next year. He will pursue a doctorate in cellular and molecular medicine at the prestigious Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He is both a Park Scholar and University scholar at North Carolina. He is a member of several prestigious honor societies including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Eta Sigma and Golden Key Honor Society. He was a W.M. Kreck Research Fellow and participated in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences honors program.