Spotlight on Research 2010

September 2010 (historical)

Featured NIAMS Interns — Summer 2010

The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) offers a Summer Research Program that provides outstanding opportunities for high school, undergraduate, graduate, and medical students contemplating a career in biomedical research or academic medicine. Our interns learn new skills, receive career mentoring from NIAMS researchers, attend lectures and symposia, engage in basic and clinical research, and gain credentials that help them pursue their career goals.

Robert Chen

Robert Chen is a senior at the University of Rochester majoring in political science. Robert was a summer intern in the NIAMS Office of Communications and Public Liaison. This summer he had the exciting opportunity to interview some of his peers in the Intramural Research Program (IRP) and to learn about some of their experiences. ďThe IRP interns are a group of talented and incredibly driven students with a wide variety of backgrounds and interests. It is my pleasure to share with you some of their stories.Ē

Adrian Cora-Morges

Adrian Cora-Morges is a second year medical student at the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Sciences Campus with an interest in becoming a rheumatologist. Adrian learned many new techniques while working alongside his mentors on the discovery of novel proteins interacting with the Fas death receptor in the Immunoregulation Section of NIAMSí Autoimmunity Branch. Adrian found the summer program to be an excellent, fast-paced opportunity that has intensified his desire for a career in research.

Amber Grace

Amber Grace is a senior majoring in chemistry at Tuskegee University who interned in the Molecular Immunology and Inflammation laboratory. Aside from learning lab techniques and expanding her knowledge in immunology, Amber found the summer internship experience to be much more than she expected, full of networking, mentoring, and learning opportunities. Her time in the lab has helped her to better understand the versatility of a medical degree and has helped to focus her career goals.

Devon Nixon

Devon Nixon is from the University of Michigan Medical School. With two years of previous summer experience at NIH, he worked on atypical hip fractures in the Clinical and Investigative Orthopaedic Surgery Section under Dr. Timothy Bhattacharyya. Devon was particularly interested in being able to see the transition from research to clinical practice, while working with data collected from actual patients. These experiences have helped Devon to define a focus in orthopedic surgery as a possible career.

Eduardo Contijoch

Eduardo Contijoch is a junior at Princeton University majoring in physics. Returning as a summer intern in NIAMS, Eduardo worked in the NIAMS Translational Immunology Section to help develop a mouse model for the novel auto-inflammation found in Wiskott-Aldrich Syndrome patients. Eduardo particularly enjoys the work at NIH because of the flexible interplay between research and application. This has guided his career focus toward an M.D. or Ph.D. in immunology or genetics.

Ixchel Montenegro

Ixchel Montenegro is a junior at the University of Michigan majoring in brain, behavior, and cognitive sciences, and minoring in gender and health. Returning as a summer intern at NIH, Ixchel worked in the NIAMS Genetics and Genomics branch studying auto-inflammatory diseases by screening patients for mutations in the PYPAF7 protein. The summers spent at the NIH have helped Ixchel hone her interests in science, and provided her with exposure to real patients and their symptoms. This has led her toward a career in health care.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee is a junior in high school from San Francisco, CA. As a summer intern, he analyzed the effects of particle heterogeneity on the resolution analysis of electron microscopy reconstructions in the NIAMS Laboratory of Structural Biology. This experience has been very enriching for Kevin, especially seeing the variety of scientific perspectives at NIH. Kevin is still undecided about his career goals, but has found that his time spent in the lab has intensified his interests in science.

Lorangelly Rivera Torres

Lorangelly Rivera Torres from Puerto Rico is going to be a senior at the Metropolitan University of Puerto Rico majoring in cell molecular biology. Her research project focused on Candid gene approach to Caspase 1 in patients with undifferentiated fever syndrome in the Laboratory of Translational Autoinflammatory Disease. During her time as an intern, Lorangelly has gained greater exposure to the clinical side of research, aiding in her decision to pursue medical school and participate in biomedical research.

Noah Hull

Noah Hull is a senior majoring in psychology and molecular and cellular biology at the University of Wyoming. He interned in the Office of Science and Technology where he worked on the possible implementation of Laser Scanning Cytometry within NIAMS. He considers NIH to be the pinnacle of biomedical research, which is ideally where he wants to be. In adapting to life in the lab and meeting a variety of new people, Noah has gained a greater appreciation for a career in public health.

Onyi Ochi

Originally from Nigeria, Onyi Ochi is a senior at Howard University majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. She is considering a career in pediatrics or internal medicine. Unlike most interns, Onyi worked on a health outcomes project with Dr. Michael Ward. She spent a lot of time interviewing people for a survey and enjoyed the interactive aspects of the experience. Onyi found that the NIH summer intern experience offers many great learning opportunities and captivating work. It has helped to confirm her career goals in medicine.

Patrick Kirkland

Patrick Kirkland is a senior majoring in microbiology at the University of Hawaii. At the NIH, he learned a variety of new lab techniques while working on display of HIV-1 epitopes on HBV nucleocapsid particles in the Protein Expression Laboratory. Patís experiences have strengthened his desire to go to medical school and he hopes to return to the NIH for another year as a post-baccalaureate student.

Sheila McSweeney

Sheila McSweeney is a third year medical student at the University College of Cork, Ireland. Sheila worked on the role of TL1A and DR3 in autoimmunity in Dr. Richard Siegelís laboratory. Her time spent this summer at the NIH has led her to consider rheumatology as a specific area of focus. Sheila was most surprised by the quality of the research being done at NIH and by the level of interaction between lab and clinical research.

Sudipa Chowdhury

Sudipa Chowdhury is a senior at the University of Kentucky majoring in biochemistry. She intends to go to medical school and is considering a career in oncology, pediatrics, or neurology. Sudipa found that her time spent as a summer intern in the Laboratory of Structural Biology Research has deepened her interest in science, as well as reinforced her decision to pursue medical school. Aside from the great opportunities and cutting-edge research at NIAMS, Sudipa also enjoyed meeting other summer interns and seeing how one question can often be solved from multiple perspectives.

Thomas Rigolage

Thomas Rigolage, from Silver Spring, MD, was a student from Montgomery College who will be transferring to Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, as a sophomore, to major in chemistry. Thomas worked on computational analysis of assembly of SV40 in the Laboratory of Structural Biology Research, where he gained experience in both time management and problem solving. Thomas was a participant in the newly launched NIH Community College Summer Enrichment Program. In this program, he developed a greater understanding of the technicalities and mechanisms involved in scientific research.

Torrian Brent

Torrian Brent is a recent high school graduate and will be attending the University of Maryland in the fall. She plans on majoring in general biology and hopes to pursue a career in dermatology. As a returning summer intern at NIH, Torrian worked on sequence analysis of the IL10 pathway genes in severe early-onset BehÁetís Disease in Dr. Dan Kastnerís laboratory. She was impressed with the variety of great resources, mentoring opportunities, and activities available to NIH summer interns, and she hopes to return to the NIH in the future to continue her training in the biomedical sciences.