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October 20, 2017
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NIAMS Summer Interns Reflect on Experiences

2017 summer interns with Dr. Robert Walker (c, back row), chief of the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch, and Dr. Stephanie Mathews (r, back row) scientific program manager
2017 summer interns with Dr. Robert Walker (c, back row), chief of the NIAMS Career Development and Outreach Branch, and Dr. Stephanie Mathews (r, back row) scientific program manager

“Eye-opening,” “influential” and “invaluable” were among the many expressions that the NIAMS 2017 summer interns used when reflecting on their experiences. This past summer, senior investigators in the NIAMS intramural research program spent 2 months mentoring and providing career guidance to 17 students from universities across the United States. From attending lectures and symposia to conducting basic and clinical research, each intern encountered unique opportunities for growth.

“These past two summers have played a pivotal role in my decision to pursue a career in translational research,” explained a returning intern.

“Being a part of the NIAMS enhanced the experience as everyone was invested in making me a better scientist and pushing me to strengthen my laboratory, networking and communication skills,” said another student.

The NIAMS Summer Research Program provides outstanding training opportunities for high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical students. Students can apply online at https://www.training.nih.gov/programs/sip. The application for summer 2018 will be available in mid-November.

Innovative Research Presented at Poster Day

presenters Louis Wang (l), a sophomore at Cornell University, James Xu (second from l), a freshman at Columbia University, NIBIB mentors Drs. Aleksander Gorbach (third from l), and Alexandr Smirnov (r), NIBIB unit chief,
PHOTO: RAYMOND MACDOUGALL

More than 300 research posters representing projects undertaken by NIH Summer Research Program participants filled several display areas within Natcher Conference Center at a poster day on Aug. 10. Among the presenters were Louis Wang (l), a sophomore at Cornell University, and James Xu (second from l), a freshman at Columbia University. Both worked this summer in the infrared imaging and thermometry unit, a trans-NIH intramural resource at NIBIB, on using mobile phones to monitor certain aspects of health. With help from NIBIB mentors Drs. Aleksander Gorbach (third from l) and Alexandr Smirnov (r), NIBIB unit chief, Wang and Xu designed and built a portable video device that enables a mobile phone to monitor the shape of capillaries in a region close to the fingernail—information that can have implications, for example, about rheumatic diseases. The method is wireless and offers continuous monitoring of peripheral microcirculation, even when patients are remote from a clinic or doctor. Working with clinical groups from NIEHS and NHLBI, the team created custom software and specially designed attachments for an iPhone 7 to quantify nail fold capillary density. Hans Prakash, a post-baccalaureate IRTA in the unit who is also a part of the team, is working with the clinical groups to evaluate the device at the Clinical Center.

NIAMS Hosts Ectodermal Dysplasias Workshop

Workshop participants (bottom row, from l) Drs. Timothy Wright, Rena D’Souza, Isaac Brownell of NIAMS’s Dermatology Branch and Mary Fete; (second row, from l) Drs. Clark Stanford, Birgitta Bergendal, Maranke Koster and Holm Schneider; and (top row, from l) Drs. Clayton Butcher, conference organizer Maria Morasso, chief of the NIAMS Laboratory of Skin Biology, and Timothy J. Fete
PHOTO: DONYA BERHAN

NIAMS recently convened a meeting on ectodermal dysplasias (ED). This group of more than 180 genetic disorders results from defects in the ectoderm—the outer layer of cells—of the embryo. ED affects the development or function of the teeth, hair, skin, nails and sweat glands. Topics discussed included ED classification, cellular defects and early diagnosis. Workshop participants included (bottom row, from l) Drs. Timothy Wright, Rena D’Souza, Isaac Brownell of NIAMS’s Dermatology Branch and Mary Fete; (second row, from l) Drs. Clark Stanford, Birgitta Bergendal, Maranke Koster and Holm Schneider; and (top row, from l) Drs. Clayton Butcher, conference organizer Maria Morasso, chief of the NIAMS Laboratory of Skin Biology, and Timothy J. Fete.

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