November 8, 2018
2018 NIAMS summer interns
2018 NIAMS summer interns with (front row, third from left) Stephen I. Katz, M.D., Ph.D., NIAMS Director; Robert H. Carter, M.D., Deputy Director; and Gahan Breithaupt, Executive Officer. Also shown: Stephanie Mathews, Ph.D., Scientific Program Manager, Career Development & Outreach Branch and Robert C. Walker, Ph.D., Chief, Career Development & Outreach Branch (back row, far left and far right).

The 2018 NIAMS Scientific Summer Student Program accepted 16 interns from different regions of the United States based on their schooling and their proposed future contributions to the area of biomedical research specifically focused on NIAMS mission areas. 

The students spent their summer immersed in innovative biomedical research (basic and translational), participated in weekly themed career development seminars, journal clubs, clinical shadowing, and independent seminars with NIAMS scientific and clinical directors, among many other activities.

Members of the Career Development and Outreach Branch welcomed the next generation of budding scientists and physicians to the NIH campus and created a curriculum that both motivated and challenged the young trainees for their future careers. Below are thoughts from some of the 2018 summer trainees on their experience.

 

Dorian Frazier, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Meyerhoff Scholar)
Dorian Frazier, University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Meyerhoff Scholar)
Mentor: Rafael Casellas, Ph.D., Chief, Laboratory of Immunogenetics, NIAMS

"Returning to NIH for my final summer internship was an excellent experience. I learned so much from this summer, both at the bench and through experiences with interns and staff at NIH. I was with the National Cancer Institute in the summer of 2016, and NIAMS this year. Dr. Casellas’ lab provided an excellent space for me to delve deeper into immunology and become familiar with CRISPR/Cas9 technology.  I surprised myself by getting a grasp on this technology in two months, and I hope to apply what I learned to my research in the future as I will be applying for very competitive graduate programs. The support from the Summer Internship Program and from NIH as whole, really helped to reinforce my interests in the intersections between science and medicine."

 

 

Blake Archer, Howard University
Blake Archer, Howard University
Mentor: John O’Shea, M.D., Scientific Director, NIAMS

"The opportunity to work at NIH and more specifically NIAMS has been a catalyst for my career development. It has allowed me to groom my research skills, improve my public speaking, as well as allow me the space to network with leading scientists and explore the many facets of research available at the NIH campus. This summer I was fortunate to work under Dr. John O'Shea doing computational analysis of gene expression data. My summer project has allowed me to develop my programming skills alongside an interest in bioinformatics and genetic analysis. I am appreciative of the NIAMS for their support and belief in my scientific maturation."

 

 

 

Lilah Fones, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Lilah Fones, University of Connecticut School of Medicine
Mentor: Robert Colbert, M.D., Ph.D., Acting Clinical Director, NIAMS

"Spending the summer working in a lab as part of the NIAMS Summer Research Program has been an amazing opportunity. I have expanded my research abilities to both further my technical skills and to better understand the research process, as well as build on my understanding of the disease process. Beyond my work in the lab, I greatly appreciated the exposure to the incredible scientific and clinical environment that is the NIH."

 

 

 

 

 

Talia Solomon, Carnegie Mellon University
Talia Solomon, Carnegie Mellon University
Mentor: Markus Hafner, Ph.D., Group Leader, RNA Molecular Biology Group, NIAMS

"Spending the past two summers as a NIAMS intern has provided me with invaluable experiences. I have worked with amazing post-docs in my lab, learning how to design experiments and ask scientific questions. They really took the time to guide me through the process of creating and pursuing a research project. I have also been able to gain unique insight and perspective into clinical medicine by shadowing staff at the Clinical Center, where all of the patients are a part of clinical trials. Everyone in my lab and in the Institute has been immensely supportive in helping me grow as a scientist by teaching and advising me on the journey to become a biomedical researcher."

 

 

 

Cameron Miller, Carnegie Mellon University
Cameron Miller, Carnegie Mellon University
Mentor: Richard Siegel, M.D., Ph.D., Former Clinical Director, NIAMS

"I still cannot believe how incredible my time was working in the NIAMS Summer Internship Program. I worked with Dr. Richard Siegel, who not only exposed me to the workings of an immunology lab but also opened a pathway for me to have hands on experience with bioinformatics research. This opportunity humbled me as a high school student transitioning to college, and the knowledge and connections I gained will forever have an impact on my scientific career. It’s been a pleasure."

 

 

 

 

Erica Matich, University of South Florida
Erica Matich, University of South Florida
Mentor: Markus Hafner, Ph.D., Group Leader, RNA Molecular Biology Group, NIAMS

"My summer at NIH has been my favorite summer yet. On my first day, I was so thrilled and knew I was in the right place, but I thought maybe that was just the initial excitement—it wasn’t. Every day here was exciting and inspired me more than I can explain in words. Being here has made me feel supported and that I am capable of pushing boundaries that I never thought possible. I gained valuable lab experience, met fascinating people, received support from the most amazing mentors, learned important career development tools and so much more."

 

 

 

Manolya Osman, University of Maryland, College Park
Manolya Osman, University of Maryland, College Park
Mentor: Alasdair Steven, Ph.D., Chief, Laboratory of Structural Biology Research, NIAMS

"This past summer, I was given the opportunity to work in the Laboratory of Structural Biology Research under the mentorship of Drs. Elif Eren and Alasdair Steven. Every day was exciting and unique, and could comprise of learning a new laboratory technique, attending a seminar, or exploring the NIH campus with the other NIAMS summer interns. At the NIH, the desire to learn is infinite and the researchers are always willing to talk to curious students. In addition to working on a project in my lab, I was also able to follow my interests in clinical research by shadowing a clinician in the NIAMS Dermatology Branch. I am very thankful to have been a part of the NIAMS Summer Internship Program!"

 

 

 

Tyler Kellenberger, University of Florida
Tyler Kellenberger, University of Florida
Mentor: Isaac Brownell, M.D., Ph.D., Head, Cutaneous Development and Carcinogenesis Section, NIAMS

"There are few experiences I’ve had throughout my life that have been as stimulating and transformational as the NIAMS Summer Research Internship Program.  I had the opportunity to work with Drs. Isaac Brownell and Natasha Hill in the dermatology section.  The laboratory focuses on cutaneous development and carcinogenesis, and I specifically worked on two projects studying Merkel cell carcinoma.  The first used an in vitro approach followed by gene sequencing to investigate the mechanism of a novel combinational therapeutic.  The second used immunofluorescence and confocal laser scanning microscopy to examine significant structural features in Merkel cell carcinoma cells.  Aside from learning a vast array of new skills and techniques in the laboratory, I was able to observe patient cases in the clinic and engage in thoughtful scientific discussions, journal clubs, and seminars.  I am beyond grateful to the program for a fantastic experience."

 

Rachel Alexander, Columbia University
Rachel Alexander, Columbia University
Mentor: Martha Somerman, D.D.S., Ph.D., Chief, Laboratory of Oral Connective Tissue Biology, NIAMS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoria Fonseca, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Victoria Fonseca, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Mentor: Massimo Gadina, Ph.D., Director, Office of Science and Technology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mollie Schwartz, University of Maryland, College Park
Mollie Schwartz, University of Maryland, College Park
Mentor: Peter Grayson, M.D., M.Sc., Head, Vasculitis Translational Research Program, NIAMS
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