Summer Internships at the NEI


Hi! My name is
Dr. Cesar Perez-Gonzalez I am the training program
coordinator for the National Eye Institute, or NEI. We have about 30-45 students
in our programs, ranging from high school to
medical and graduate students who work between 8-12 weeks
in our laboratories. The NEI conducts research on a
variety of vision-related areas, from visual psycho-biochemistry,
the neurobiology of vision, basic immunology of the eye,
the genetics of eye diseases, as well as treatments for
various eye diseases such as stem-cell based and gene-therapy
based systems to treat retinal degenerations. Students gain valuable research
experience while they’re with us They are able to present their
work at a summer poster day, and in some cases we’ve had
interns publish in prestigious journals. The NEI is part of the National
Institutes of Health, NIH, one of the premiere research
institutions in the world, and our students have the
opportunity to not only get some of the best research
training in the world, but also have opportunities
for career development, getting into graduate school,
medical school, working on presentation skills, their
scientific writing, record keeping. As a research scientist, the NEI
and the NIH is one of the best places to come and do work. Alright, I’m Erin Cullather. So, hi, my name is Chris. My name is Andrew Kalra. Well, I’m Elizabeth Woo, but I
go by Geena, my middle name. I’m Neo Zhao. Hi, my name is Oluchi
and I’m 17. I’m 17. My age is 18. I’m 20 years old. I’m 20 years old. I’m 21. I had a passion to work with
something relating to the brain and the neurons that are located
in the brain. And I sort of just gave my
application to the OITE office and they placed me where they
thought would be best useful for my skills I previously had, and
the skills this lab required. This is also my first experience
actually working a job I heard the NIH has — it’s in
the middle between a formal workplace and the school
environment, so I thought it would be a good place to
ease into what it’s like to work in a job. So I am researching the retina,
and the study we’re doing is studying how the S100B protein
impacts ocular inflammation in the retina. Basically, my project has to do
with looking at phosphorylation levels of MAP kinase P38, and
then a protein called AKT. I’d suggest reaching out early.
For me, I filled out my application, and I started
reaching out to different PIs in different institutes across
the NIH, and that was really helpful, just to get the
conversation started and to figure out where my interests
were, because a lot of PIs took the time to talk to me on the
phone and establish where would be a good fit. Definitely find people whose
interests align with your own, because otherwise I feel like
it might be a little difficult. In the lab, I’m learning a lot
of things about science and the mechanics of lab work, but
then outside of the lab, I’m learning about different
diseases, different practices, and then also from people who
don’t even work in science, I’m learning from them about
MCATS, or about college. I think it’s been really cool
knowing that I’m on the NIH campus. NIH is one of those
places that gives funding to so many other places. Probably meeting lots of great
people, especially in my lab. Everybody here is really nice
and mentoring, especially because it’s my first experience
in biomedical research, everyone here is just super supportive
and nice and really help me with whatever I need help with, which
is a lot of things. So the most fun part of taking
summer interns is really just talking to them, really thinking
and discussing with them. They are really — why do they
want to do science? Why do they want to go into this
field? And then helping them think about their career plans
and discuss their career plans with them, and if our
internships can actually help them shape their career plans. So that’s what I like the most
about it. And then it’s fun to have these
young people around to bring new energy, and everyone is
excited, so I guess it works. Students who are interested in
working at the National Eye Institute should reach out to
myself about possible openings in our laboratories, or they can
email investigators directly to see about any summer
positions. NEI does not have a central
committee that looks over applications. Once they’ve
applied through the NIH summer intern program application
system, students should look through the NEI webpage at
nei.nih.gov, go to the descriptions of our laboratories
and make themselves a short list of principal investigators they
would be interested in working with over the summer. And then
contacting them directly about openings. We can’t wait to see you next
summer!

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