NIAMS Training Program Goes Virtual
This past summer, the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch (CDOB) welcomed 15 students from across the country and Puerto Rico to participate in the inaugural NIAMS Intramural Virtual Training Research Opportunities (InVTRO) program.
NIAMS has a long history of hosting a summer research experience. It was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but returned virtually in 2021; students took part from their homes.
“Although this summer was a bit different with it being a virtual experience, it did not change my admiration for the NIH community and the enriching culture of science it provides to its summer interns, even with the Covid-19 restrictions,” said Triniti Turner, a returning intern majoring in biology at Virginia Commonwealth University.
InVTRO provided a unique, interactive platform that included live sessions with NIAMS staff and scientists from different laboratories, Intramural Research Program (IRP) facility tours, live video conferences and laboratory meetings, interactive interviews with current trainees and faculty, participation in Grand Rounds and “mock” patient visits, and journal clubs.
The program also offered interactive courses in bioinformatics and responsible conduct in research, daily Q&A sessions about NIAMS’s IRP portfolio and other learning and networking opportunities.
“NIAMS was able to provide a virtual internship comprised of a diverse range of opportunities that allowed me to further develop analytical skills and taught me how to think critically in a translational research environment,” said Ali Khan, who is attending medical school at the George Washington University School of Medicine in 2022.
“This past summer was pivotal in furthering my career and I am so grateful that NIAMS transformed the challenges of a virtual interface into an amazing learning experience,” added Adelle Perkelvald, a biology student from Lander College of Arts and Sciences in New York.
InVTRO was led by Dr. Robert Walker, chief of the CDOB, and facilitated by Elizabeth Aliberti and Martyn Green. CDOB plans to continue developing and expanding the program.
For details about CDOB, visit https://www.niams.nih.gov/labs/walker-lab.