Students Intern With Professional Scientists - Martin-Paul Agbaga, PhD

Caldwell, N.J., Aug. 21, 2018

Several students in Caldwell’s Natural and Physical Sciences Department spent the summer interning with professional scientists.

Shreyoshi Hossain, a biology and chemistry major, received the first-place prize in the poster competition at her internship site at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Summer Undergraduate Research Program. She focused her poster on the research she did investigating the absorption of a compound that could be a cure for blindness, skin disorders and seizures for newborns and people of different ages. “It was fascinating to work hands-on looking for discoveries that can improve people’s health,” said Hossain. She is grateful to her mentor, Martin-Paul Agbaga, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Ophthalmology and the Dean McGee Eye Institute at Oklahoma University, and to the other personnel in the lab.  “It is so important to have a good lab mentor,” she said.

Marina Schlaepfer, a biology major and a member of the women’s volleyball team, had a summer fellowship at the University of Colorado Cancer Center, Anschutz Medical Campus. She researched colorectal cancer, focusing on a targeted therapy drug with chemotherapeutic agents in a project funded by the Infinite Monkey Theorem wine company. Schlaepfer, a sophomore, was thrilled to be able to engage with the oncologists, research assistants and all the “brilliant scientists” dedicated to researching cancer or caring for the patient. Some of the drugs she helped research will be used in phase one of a colorectal cancer clinical trial, and she was happy she could meet some of the patients. Schlaepfer said she learned that it takes a good deal of dedication to the research or clinical aspects of health care to be successful. “The journey to become a doctor is tough, but the fellowship has made me want to work even harder.” She is especially grateful to her mentor, Dr. Todd Pitts, assistant research professor at the Division of Medical Oncology at the University of Colorado, and to the staff of the Messersmith and Pitts Laboratories.

Foujan Moghimi interned at the world-renowned teaching and biomedical hospital Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. She was chosen to participate in the JH Bloomberg School of Public Health Diversity Summer Internship Program. A biology and psychology major with a chemistry minor, Moghimi worked with alumna Dr. Barbara Detrick Detrick, professor of pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and professor at the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Moghimi   worked on a project titled “Evaluation of Cytokines in Hepatitis E Viral Infection” with Detrick and Dr. John Hooks.  The internship helped her appreciate the public health field and how she could combine that area with her interests in medicine. Dr. Detrick  formed the partnership between Caldwell and Johns Hopkins a few years ago.

For a second summer, Roksana Korbi, a biology major and chemistry minor, took part in the Premedical Urban Leaders Summer Enrichment Program at Cooper Medical School of Rowan University to learn about urban health. In phase two of the program, she shadowed a physical therapist, a neurologist, a radiation oncologist, a hematologist and other health professionals. The most exciting experience was observing a live hysterectomy performed by Dr. David Warshal, head of the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Cooper University Health Care. She observed how he used the cutting-edge technology of the DaVinci robot for the surgery. “The program coordinators were invested in allowing us to grow personally and professionally as future health professionals,” said Korbi.

Joy Choi, a biology major and chemistry minor, interned at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, the research branch of the Northwell Health enterprise in Manhasset, New York. She researched a drug that could delay the blood cancer lymphocytic leukemia. “What was most meaningful to me was knowing that I am somehow contributing to treat a terrible disease.”

Several of the internships provided workshops so students could prepare for the MCATs, graduate school and careers.  The students said the Caldwell biology and chemistry lectures gave them good foundations for their internships. “The program and professors in Caldwell’s Science Department have challenged me to go further and really enjoy science,” said Choi. “It was very important for me to know how to calculate concentrations. Thank you, Dr. Squires,” said Schlaepfer.

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