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Vol. LIX, No. 15
July 27, 2007

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Glamour Magazine Honors NHGRI Intern

Melis Anahtar has been named one of Glamour magazine’s top 10 college women of 2007.
Melis Anahtar has been named one of Glamour magazine's top 10 college women of 2007.

Play tennis, blog, work on a needle-free injector, maintain a perfect grade point average at Massachusetts Institute of Technology - just a typical day for Melis Anahtar.

An intern in the National Human Genome Research Institute's Medical Genetics Branch, Anahtar is far from typical. In fact she is one of only 10 named as Glamour's Top College Women of 2007. Among social activists and future Olympians, Anahtar, 20, stands out as the one whose "research will save lives" in the June 2007 issue.

The MIT junior was encouraged to apply for the honor by a sorority sister. She was surprised and excited to learn in March that she would make the trip to New York City to be photographed for the pages of Glamour.

"We had world-class stylists simultaneously applying makeup, doing our nails and blow drying our hair. Then we were whisked to the dressing area, where we could choose from 10 racks of black and white clothes from famous designers and a long row of shoes," Anahtar wrote on her blog on the MIT admissions web site.

On a second trip to the city in early June, Anahtar attended a luncheon commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Top 10 College Women contest and met Martha Stewart, another top woman.

"At first I thought it would just be something cool to say - I was in Glamour - but at the lunch they really talked about it as a support network," Anahtar said. She has already emailed some of the pioneers she met that day.

She also received the L'Oreal Beauty of Giving Award and with it $2,500 for a charity donation, which she split between Camp Kesem and Shriners Hospital for Children in Boston. This August, Anahtar will work at Camp Kesem, a college student-run camp for children with a parent who has or had cancer.

She interned at Shriners Hospital and in a bioengineering lab at Massachusetts General Hospital during her high school summer vacations.

With a home two blocks from NIH and a self-described natural curiosity, Anahtar was bound to pursue a future in the science or medical field. She combined the two with a major in mechanical engineering with an emphasis on biomedical engineering.

While at school she works in the MIT Bioinstrumentation Lab and serves as editor-in-chief for the MIT Undergraduate Research Journal.

This summer, her second with NIH, she continues her work with human biochemical genetics. Anahtar spends her days looking for proteins correlated with interstitial lung disease and genotyping for Smith-Magenis Syndrome. On Thursdays, she tags along on rounds to see patients in the Clinical Center.

"I see the connection between the clinic and lab. I like translational medicine; it makes you feel like what you've discovered really makes a difference in people's lives," Anahtar said.

Upon graduation next year, she is looking forward to pursuing her M.D./Ph.D. and her dream of medical research, though she's not sure in which field. She likes genetics, but does not want to lose her focus on engineering.

A glance at her resume so far gives the impression Anahtar doesn't lose focus easily. NIH Record Icon

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