CVDM Undergraduate Research Internship Program

The BRI Cardiovascular, Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders (CVDM) Research Center Internship Program is seeking motivated students interested in pursuing biomedical research within the specific areas of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases.

Internship programs at the BRI will provide undergraduate students with a focused and challenging summer research training experience in a cutting-edge science laboratory based out of Brigham and Women’s Hospital.


Charles Keith Ozaki, MD

The Ozaki Basic Vascular Biology Laboratory of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery broadly aims to delineate the mechanisms by which physical forces alter the morphology of the blood vessel wall.  The team holds expertise specifically in the adaptations of the vein bypass graft, an extreme example of acute perturbation of the hemodynamic environment combined with vascular trauma.  Recent investigative efforts have focused on inflammatory driven mechanisms of these adaptations.  Current research directions expand (in both animal models and humans) this foundation of knowledge via enhanced in vivo imaging of the blood vessel wall, investigations into links between adipose biology and vascular adaptations, and robust analyses of the longitudinal interplay between local hemodynamic factors and biochemical mediators.

Indranil Sinha, MD

Sinha Lab – Skeletal Muscle Regeneration

Our laboratory studies skeletal muscle regeneration and the hypoxia pathway.  Preliminary data demonstrates that, in obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, there is a pathological increase in the enzyme prolyl hydroxylase domain-containing protein 2 (PHD2).  In skeletal muscle, this results in abnormal hypoxia signaling and the down-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is necessary for muscle regeneration.  Our lab has shown that pharmacologic blockade of PHD 2 dramatically improved skeletal muscle regeneration in obese mice.  Currently, we are evaluating other targets of PHD2 and further defining the role of VEGF in skeletal muscle regeneration in a model of Type 2 diabetes.

Mark W. Feinberg, MD

Dr. Mark W. Feinberg is a cardiovascular medicine specialist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) and an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. In addition, he is an affiliated faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute. Dr. Feinberg received his medical degree from Medical College of Pennsylvania. He completed an internal medicine residency at Duke University Medical Center. He then completed two cardiology fellowships: a research fellowship at Harvard School of Public Health and a clinical fellowship at BWH. Dr. Feinberg is board certified in internal medicine and cardiology.

Dr. Feinberg’s clinical interests include noninvasive clinical cardiology, vascular medicine, and cardiovascular disease prevention. Dr. Feinberg directs an NIH-funded basic science laboratory that investigates mechanisms leading to the development of atherosclerosis (coronary artery disease) and myocardial infarction (heart attack). These studies have revealed novel and unexpected pathophysiological roles for microRNAs, lincRNAs, and transcriptional regulators in vascular inflammation and repair, with therapeutic implications for ischemic cardiovascular disease and other acute and chronic inflammatory diseases.

Dr. Feinberg has held various leadership roles in cardiovascular research including his service on national peer review study sections, editorial service, and as a Co-Chair of the Brigham Research Institute’s CVDM Center.

Selected publications:

Sun X, Icli B, Wara AK, Belkin N, He S, Kobzik L, Hunninghake GM, Vera MP; MICU Registry., Blackwell TS, Baron RM, Feinberg MW. MicroRNA-181b regulates NF-κB-mediated vascular inflammation. J Clin Invest. 2012;122(6):1973-90. doi: 10.1172/JCI61495. PubMed PMID: 22622040;

Sun X, He S, Wara AK, Icli B, Shvartz E, Tesmenitsky Y, Belkin N, Li D, Blackwell TS, Sukhova GK, Croce K, Feinberg MW. Systemic delivery of microRNA-181b inhibits nuclear factor-κB activation, vascular inflammation, and atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice. Circ Res. 2014 Jan 3;114(1):32-40. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.302089. PubMed PMID: 24084690; PubMed Central

Sun X, Lin J, Zhang Y, Kang S, Belkin N, Wara AK, Icli B, Hamburg NM, Li D, Feinberg MW. MicroRNA-181b Improves Glucose Homeostasis and Insulin Sensitivity by Regulating Endothelial Function in White Adipose Tissue. Circ Res. 2016 Mar 4;118(5):810-21. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.115.308166. PubMed PMID: 26830849.

Lin J, He S, Sun X, Franck G, Deng Y, Yang D, Haemmig S, Wara AK, Icli B, Li D, Feinberg MW. MicroRNA-181b inhibits thrombin-mediated endothelial activation and arterial thrombosis by targeting caspase recruitment domain family member 10. FASEB J. 2016 Sep;30(9):3216-26. doi: 10.1096/fj.201500163R. PubMed PMID: 27297585.

Icli B, Wara AK, Moslehi J, Sun X, Plovie E, Cahill M, Marchini JF, Schissler A, Padera RF, Shi J, Cheng HW, Raghuram S, Arany Z, Liao R, Croce K, MacRae C, Feinberg MW. MicroRNA-26a regulates pathological and physiological angiogenesis by targeting BMP/SMAD1 signaling. Circ Res. 2013 Nov 8;113(11):1231-41. doi:

10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.113.301780. PubMed PMID: 24047927.

Haemmig S. and Feinberg MW. Targeting lncRNAs in Cardiovascular Disease: Options and Expeditions. Circ Res. 2016; in press.

Ali Tavakkoli, MD and Eric Sheu MD, PhD

The Laboratory of Surgical and Metabolic Research focuses on understanding the role of the gastrointestinal tract in diabetes.  In particular, we are studying how bariatric surgery leads to early diabetes resolution, with the goal for developing less invasive treatments for diabetes and obesity.   We have identified surgically induced changes in intestinal nutrient absorption, metabolism, and portal vein milieu that contribute to improvement in glucose metabolism.   In addition, we are characterizing how bariatric surgery modulates intestinal immunity, with subsequent impact on intestinal metabolism and diabetes.  In these endeavors, we employ novel rodent surgical models, as well as human translational studies in patients undergoing bariatric surgery.   Our work is funded by the NIH, BADERC, CIMIT, and Harvard Catalyst.


Applications Close: February 6th, 2017
Decisions Announced: early March 2017
Program Dates for Internship:  June 5, 2017 – August 11, 2017

  • Applicants must be a US citizen or non-citizen national with a permanent residence visa.
  • Applicants from any university are encouraged to apply, but interns must currently be enrolled in a four-year university in an undergraduate program.
  • Previous research experience in a biological laboratory is desirable, but not required.

To be considered for participation in the CVDM Summer Internship Program applicants are expected to provide:

  • A resume or curriculum vitae.
  • A copy of your transcripts to date.
  • A personal statement describing in <500 words:
    • Your educational and professional goals.
    • How participation in the CVDM Summer Internship Program will assist in meeting your goals.
    • Your qualifications and reasons for wishing to participate in this program.
  • Two letters of recommendation and the contact information of two references.
  • The names of the top three researchers you would most like to work with.

Instructions on how to apply and a link to the online application form can be found on this page.


A modest stipend will be given to all accepted applicants to help offset any travel or housing costs related to the internship.