Spotlight on Research 2016

October 2016

NIAMS Interns Share Their 2016 Summer Experiences

The NIAMS offers a Summer Internship Program that provides outstanding opportunities for high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students contemplating a career in biomedical research or academic medicine. Our 2016 summer interns received career mentoring from NIAMS researchers, attended lectures and symposia, engaged in basic and clinical research, and gained notable experience that will help them pursue their career goals. Students described their experiences in their own words.

2016 summer students with Dr. Robert Walker, chief of the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch (center, back row), and Dr. Stephanie Mathews, Scientific Program Manager (3rd from left, back row).

2016 summer students with Dr. Robert Walker, chief of the NIAMS Career Development
and Outreach Branch (center, back row), and Dr. Stephanie Mathews, Scientific Program
Manager (3rd from left, back row).

 


 

Eric Glazier

Eric Glazier, University of Virginia

I had a fantastic summer experience working in the Autoimmunity Branch at NIAMS. Through my investigations of autoinflammatory disorders, I learned how to develop and complete a project, analyze and present findings, and use the data to push the project in new and exciting directions. Throughout this process, I learned an incredible number of lab techniques and how to use multiple computer programs. In addition to my lab experiences, I used my summer to get a feel for the research world to help make decisions on my future career. The NIH is an incredible place, and I am very grateful for the opportunities it has provided me.

 

 

Elijah Davis

Elijah Davis, University of Maryland, Baltimore County

My experience working with Dr. Sarfaraz Hasni in the Office of the Clinical Director at NIAMS has been amazing. Not only was I able to conduct quality research dedicated to helping those affected by lupus, but I learned more about presenting my work in a professional manner. This internship offers plenty of opportunities to learn, grow, and prepare for the future.

 

Jazz Jacobs

Jazz Jacobs, Stevenson University

I have matured a great bit from this very helpful program! While working in the Systemic Autoimmunity Branch, I was able to meet some of the most prestigious scientists and directors. They were so knowledgeable, yet down-to-earth. I learned a lot of techniques and skills that will support my desire to become a medical scientist. I absolutely recommend this program to all individuals who are looking to do world-renowned biomedical research!

 

Kathleen Marinelli

Kathleen Marinelli, Creighton University

My experience as a summer intern at NIAMS was more than I ever could have imagined. I was able to study a disease that I am extremely passionate about called Takayasu’s arteritis while simultaneously working with a fantastic mentor, Dr. Peter Grayson, in the Vasculitis Translational Research Program. I researched the association between clinical presentations and FDG-PET images as a possible way to track disease activity. In addition to my research, Dr. Grayson allowed me to be a very active participant in the clinic, where I was able to see patients every week and be a part of the decision-making process for the treatment of their difficult disease.

 

Somin Kim

Somin Kim, Emory University

This summer, I had an amazing experience working with Dr. Eric Hanson in the NIAMS Autoimmunity Branch. My project focused on the intracellular mechanisms involved with the regulation of a family of transcription factors, specifically investigating patients with unique mutations along different domains of NEMO, an NF-kB essential modulator. By utilizing cutting-edge microscopy and other techniques, I was able to categorize differences in protein interactions among mutant lines and perform functional analyses to yield insight on inflammatory disease systems. The NIH provided me with stellar mentors to help guide my academic career pathway, as well as other unbelievable opportunities. This summer research experience was definitely my best one yet!

 

Erica Sadler

Erica Sadler, Cornell University

This summer, I was lucky enough to participate in immunogenetics research in the Laboratory of Molecular Immunogenetics at NIAMS. I learned many new lab techniques and participated in an ongoing group research project. The emphasis on career development allowed me to explore my options and become better prepared for the future. I interacted with many incredible doctors and researchers, all of whom were extremely kind and willing to help me in any way I needed, making my summer experience everything I imagined and more.

 

Tiahna Spencer

Tiahna Spencer, University of Connecticut Medical School

The Summer Internship Program at NIAMS is an excellent opportunity, and one that I highly recommend. I had the opportunity to work in the Systemic Autoimmunity Branch with passionate, dedicated, and skilled scientists and mentors. This opportunity taught me skills that will help me in the future, most importantly, learning how to form scientific questions and apply a methodical approach to find the answers. The seminars allowed me to meet with my fellow summer interns, develop professionally, and meet exceptional scientists and physician-scientists.

 

Mary Rostom

Mary Rostom, University of Pittsburgh

This summer, I worked on a project involving cloning and purifying a reverse transcriptase that could be used as a tool in the Laboratory of Muscle Stem Cells and Gene Regulation. I feel honored to have had this experience as it allowed me to learn lab techniques and think like a scientist under the guidance of helpful mentors. I have been able to make great connections and see real-life applications in the lab. I am lucky to have been able to come to the NIH and take advantage of all the opportunities given to me here. Not only will this experience help me in the future, being in this environment has also motivated me to continue working toward my goals.

 

Rachel Darko

Rachel Darko, Howard University

I studied immune cell signaling and cellular phenotyping in order to understand inflammatory diseases. In the Autoimmunity Branch, we studied the role of NF-kB essential modulator NEMO in immune diseases. NEMO defects can lead to infections, systemic inflammation, ectodermal dysplasia, and neurological problems. Characterizing cytokine production of various immune cells with defects in NEMO can explain mechanisms of disease in NEMO patients. I enjoyed my challenging research project here at the NIH, and I hope that the work I did improves the lives of others.

 

Naveen Ambati

Naveen Ambati, University of Virginia

This is my second summer in the NIAMS Summer Research Program, and I had a great experience working with my mentor in the RNA Molecular Biology Group. The program offers a lot of guidance in having a successful summer and setting up connections for the future.

 

Eugenia Zeng

Eugenia Zeng, University of Rochester

I learned so much, from the intricacies of science to networking skills. I most enjoyed the Brown Bag Lunch seminars every Tuesday, where we got to speak to some of our directors and scientists. The experience I gained while working in the Pediatric Translational Research Branch at NIAMS, has allowed me to learn more about myself as a scientist. I hope to continue pursuing research in the future.

 

Marvin Thomas, Howard University School of Dentistry

I thoroughly enjoyed working in the Laboratory of Oral and Connective Tissue Biology at NIAMS this summer. It was a great experience, and it afforded me the opportunity to work with brilliant scientists, meet new people, and network with individuals in my field. I highly recommend participating in an internship at the NIAMS.

 

Carensa Cezar

Carensa Cezar, Howard University School of Medicine

Spent her summer working in the Clinical Trials and Outcomes Branch at NIAMS.

 

James Perez

James Perez, University of California at Santa Barbara

Spent his summer working in the Molecular Immunology and Inflammation Branch at NIAMS.

 

Chrystal Thomas

Chrystal Thomas, Carnegie Mellon University

Spent her summer working in the Autoimmunity Branch at NIAMS.