Internships

BRI Undergraduate Research Summer Internship Program 2018

The internship programs hosted by the Brigham Research Institute provides undergraduate students with a focused and challenging summer research experience in a cutting-edge science laboratory.

Interns will have the opportunity to obtain a research training experience in a laboratory or research setting at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

 

IMPORTANT DATES & DEADLINES:

Applications Close: February 7, 2018
Decisions Announced: early March 2018
Program Dates for Internship:  June 4, 2018 – August 10, 2018

 

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS:
  • Applicants must demonstrate a committed interest to pursue graduate study toward a PhD, MD or MD-PhD.
  • Applicants must currently be enrolled full-time in an accredited public or private college or university.
  • Applicants must be in good academic standing with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
  • Applicants must be a US citizen or non-citizen national with a permanent residence visa.
  • Previous research experience in a biological laboratory is desirable, but not required.

 

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS:
  • 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 BRI 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.

 

HOW TO APPLY:

Prepare and submit the online application.

Request your supporting materials and confirm they are to be received by our office by February 7th, 2018:

  • An official copy of your transcript from your current undergraduate institution (If you have been at your current institution less than one year, please submit a transcript from your prior institution.)
    • eTranscripts may be submitted in the online application form or emailed to BWHBRI@partners.org
    • Paper transcripts may be mailed to:
Brigham Research Institute
One Brigham Circle, 3rd Floor
1620 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02120
  • Two letters of recommendation (you must make these requests) must be sent by the letter writer to BWHBRI@partners.org or may be mailed to the address listed above.

 

 

To see a list of available host labs, please see the internship programs hosted by the research labs below. 

 

 

Damien C Croteau-Chonka, Ph.D.

The Systems Genetics and Genomics Unit of the Channing Division of Network Medicine has traditionally focused on the genetic and environmental determinants of complex respiratory diseases.  Although asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease continue to be areas of great interest, additional disease areas will be studied using a variety of integrated genomics approaches.

Dr. Damien Croteau-Chonka is interested in understanding the shared genetic mechanisms of obesity and asthma. He works closely with his research mentors, Drs. Benjamin Raby and Jessica Lasky-Su.

Potential Projects:

Potential projects would include curating and/or analyzing genetic and genomic data from respiratory disease cohorts. There will be a heavy emphasis on biostatistics and computer programming.

 

Lab Website:

http://channingnetworkmed.org/

 

Faculty Profiles: 

https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/profiles/display/Person/113335 [Croteau-Chonka]

https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Person/56964 [Raby]

https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Person/79780 [Lasky-Su]

Karen H. Costenbader, MD, MPH

Rheumatologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Our group has an overall focus on using patient-oriented and epidemiologic research studies to evaluate the etiology, outcomes, and public health burden of rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In particular, we perform studies to evaluate the genetic, environmental, serologic, and familial risk factors for RA, clinical trials for RA prevention, RA outcomes research focusing on the respiratory burden of RA, evaluate the effect of metabolic factors such as weight loss on RA outcomes, and investigate rheumatic manifestations of osseous sarcoidosis. We use large population-based studies for these studies, including the Nurses’ Health Studies, the Studies for the Etiology of RA, the Partners electronic medical record, the Brigham RA Sequential Study, and pharmacy claims databases. We also perform clinical trials including the Personalized Risk Estimator for RA (PRE-RA) Family Study, the Strategy to Prevent the Onset of Clinically-Apparent RA (StopRA), and the Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT). o The StopRA Study: clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine for prevention of rheumatoid arthritis
 StopRA is recruiting participants using many strategies, such as medical record review, reviewing immunology lab reports, advertising to healthy volunteers, and advertising to cohorts of known first-degree relatives of RA patients. The summer intern will assist the research coordinators in all areas of recruitment including chart reviews, patient calls, physician emails, and patient mailings.

  • StopRA conducts regular pre-screening visits and has multiple participants enrolled who return to BWH for scheduled study visits. The summer intern will also assist the research coordinators in scheduling StopRA visits, preparing visit materials and completing post-visit activities such as data entry.
  • BRASS-ILD Study: Brigham RA Sequential Study screening for interstitial lung disease
  • BRASS-ILD is ongoing and involves recruitment and study visit activities. The summer intern would help research coordinators with BRASS-ILD study visit recruitment and conducting visits, including the spinning and processing of blood.
  • The summer intern would also be able to help with data entry and data cleaning for this study

Jeffrey Duryea, PhD

Associate Professor, Harvard Medical School
Department of Radiology, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Lab website

My group, The Quantitative Musculoskeletal Imaging Group (Q-MIG) in the Radiology Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital specializes in developing software image analysis methods to quantify structural changes related to musculoskeletal diseases. The primary focus is on osteoarthritis (OA) but we have substantial experience with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and with various animal models to investigate more general disease processes. The overall goal of the program is to provide clinical researchers with fast and objective methods that can facilitate high-powered studies and clinical trials.

For a potential intern, familiarity and general competence with the Windows operating system is important.  Since the research involves MRI and radiographic imaging of arthritic joints, this is an ideal position for students with an interest in Radiology, Orthopedics, or Rheumatology and a career in academic medicine.  There is an opportunity for co-authorship on publications depending on the performance of the individual.

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.

Candace H. Feldman M.D.,M.P.H.,Sc.D.

http://researchfaculty.brighamandwomens.org/BRIProfile.aspx?id=6425

https://connects.catalyst.harvard.edu/Profiles/display/Person/61564

 

“The Feldman “lab” is interested in reducing racial, ethnic and socioeconomic disparities and improving the quality of care for patients with rheumatologic conditions such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis through epidemiologic studies and intervention design and evaluation.

We (Candace Feldman, MD, ScD and Elizabeth Janiak, ScD) are looking for an intern who is interested in working on a project that aims to improve access to reproductive health services for patients with rheumatologic conditions. We are implementing an intervention that uses our electronic medical record system to help rheumatologists ask patients about their reproductive health intentions and ensures that they receive timely referrals to the appropriate services. For example, patients who are not intending to become pregnant and who are receiving medications that preclude safe pregnancy will be referred for expedited contraception counseling. The intern will be involved in the implementation of this intervention and in data collection and analyses. Other responsibilities of the intern would include helping to organize a community-based educational event to improve awareness about lupus in the underserved greater Boston area.”

Giorgio Giatsidis, M.D.

My work focuses on trauma and skeletal muscle regeneration. Over summer 2018 we will conduct a study sponsored by the DOD on volumetric muscle loss injury in rat models and test a novel device to stimulate muscle regeneration. We will have animal work (surgeries, device application and monitoring) and wet lab bench work (histology and analysis). If interested, the intern might also be involved in dry lab studies (e.g. literature reviews) on topics related to tissue regeneration, regenerative medicine, and trauma.

Julie Glowacki, PhD

Glowacki Lab:
Julie Glowacki, PhD

Director, Skeletal Biology Research Laboratory
Professor of Orthopedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School
Professor of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery, Harvard School of Dental Medicine

Dr. Glowacki studies mechanisms of skeletal pathology, aging, and impaired fracture and wound healing.  Common skeletal disorders include osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, and impairments in healing of traumatic injuries.  Risk factors for skeletal disease are being investigated.  This program includes stem cell and drug discovery approaches to identify novel approaches to those common orthopedic problems.  Students have the opportunity to receive training in methods of cell culture, gene expression analyses, histology, statistics, and scientific writing.

Katherine P. Liao, MD, MPH

Associate Physician, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

 

Our lab examines the role of inflammation on heart disease.  We are currently enrolling rheumatoid arthritis patients in a clinical trial to study the impact of inflammation on cholesterol and heart disease. We have existing datasets where interns can examine the association between inflammatory markers and heart function. Interns will also gain hands on experience with the recruitment process and study visits.

Srini Mukundan, PhD, MD

Mukundan Lab

The Mukundan lab is focused on using advanced imaging to support neurosurgical treatments, and collaborates with neurosurgeons involved with neurovascular surgery, movement disorders, and brain tumors.  The lab uses magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and advanced computed tomography (CT) techniques to identify pathology, direct neurosurgical interventions and monitor treatment response.  The summer student will help evaluate the 3D imaging data and correlate with intraoperative findings.

Potential projects include:

  1. Advanced computed tomography angiography (CTA) to assist neurosurgical treatment of aneurysms.
  2. The use of magnetic resonance elastography (MRe) to evaluate intracranial masses.
Ronald L., Neppl Ph.D.

My research program is focused on the molecular regulation of skeletal muscle homeostasis; skeletal muscle’s unique ability to increase its mass in response to functional utilization, nutritional input, and age, as well as its ability to repair itself following injury.

In healthy individuals, lean muscle accounts for 38 – 54% and 28 – 39% of total body mass in men and women respectively. These ranges are quite broad and are dependent upon multiple factors including age, physical activity level, overall health, and genetic makeup. In addition to its clear role in movement and locomotion, muscle is also a reservoir of glucose acting to buffer blood-glucose levels, a source of lactate and alanine for gluconeogenesis in the liver, as well as a major endocrine organ regulating the metabolic demands of adipose tissue, brain and bone. An ever increasing body of evidence links physical activity and the maintenance of lean muscle mass with a decreased risk of chronic disease as well as premature morbidity and mortality. A gradual loss of muscle mass with advancing age is physiologically normal. However, in a subset of individuals its increasingly rapid progression results in Sarcopenia, a major contributor to Frailty Syndrome. Effecting upwards of 5 million Americans per year, Cachexia is characterized by an excessive loss of muscle mass and increased mortality. It is now recognized as a complex metabolic condition associated with an underlying illness or chronic disease such as renal failure, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and AIDS.

The Neppl Research Group is focused on the molecular regulation of skeletal muscle homeostasis in health and disease. Our overarching goal is to understand how ncRNAs control the essential processes of myogenesis and hypertrophic growth, and how perturbations in these processes may lead to a disease state resulting in muscle atrophy. Using traditional biochemical and molecular biology techniques, in vivo and in vitro model systems, as well as next generation RNA sequencing, we seek to discover and understand the biological roles these ncRNAs play in the maintenance of lean muscle mass. Research activities in the laboratory fall within two main project areas:

  1. Non-coding RNA mediated regulation of skeletal muscle homeostasis and repair
    Mechanistically, multiple cellular and molecular pathways regulating hypertrophic growth (anabolic pathways) and atrophy (catabolic pathways) are known. The major players regulating protein synthesis (i.e. Akt1, Igf1, mTor, SMADs 1/5/8, etc.) and protein degradation (i.e. Atrogin-1, MuRF1, MUSA, FOXO factors, etc.) have been well studied in the context of muscle hypertrophy and atrophy. Though much has been learned regarding the roles of these and other genes, we know relatively little about the roles of lncRNAs in physiological homeostasis of muscle and the progression of disease resulting in atrophy. Though still an emerging field, lncRNAs have been identified as critical regulators of essential cellular processes including cellular differentiation, fate determination, proliferation, and senescence. However, our knowledge of lncRNAs in skeletal muscle physiology is still in its infancy. The primary goal of this project is to understand the functions of lncRNAs in the maintenance of cellular and physiological homeostasis and in the etiology of muscle atrophy.
  2. Regulation of the RNA Induced Silencing Complex is necessary for muscle homeostasis and physiological adaptations to stress
    The RNA Induced Silencing Complex (RISC) is an evolutionarily conserved, multi-protein regulatory complex responsible for post-transcriptional gene regulation. Functionally, RISC inhibits translation of mRNA into protein through miRNA directed complementary binding to the 3’ untranslated region (UTR) of mRNA resulting loss of mRNA stability via removal of the 5’ m7G cap, deadenylation of the poly(A) tail, or through miRNA directed endonuclease activity. Given the biological necessity of miRNA/RISC, it is unclear how cells positively and negatively regulate its repressive (either endonuclease cleavage and/or mRNA destabilization) effects on mRNA translation to maintain physiological homeostasis. While much is known about the role of individual miRNAs in the regulation of muscle homeostasis and repair, the muscle specific signals and players regulating the activity of this essential muli-protein complex are relatively unknown. It is the overall goal of this project to understand signaling events that regulate the activity of miRNA/RISC under normal and pathological conditions.

Charles Keith Ozaki, MD

The Ozaki Vascular Biology Laboratory’s basic research efforts broadly aim to delineate the mechanisms by which physical forces alter the morphology of the blood vessel wall. We hold 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 and adipose driven mechanisms of these adaptations. Emerging directions in our group expand (in both animal models and humans) our foundation of knowledge via investigations into links between dietary restriction, adipose biology and vascular adaptations, and robust analyses of the longitudinal relationships between local hemodynamic factors and biologic mediators. Students will be involved in analyzing samples from our ongoing mechanistic translational clinical trial https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03303534

Indranil Sinha, MD

Sinha Lab – Skeletal Muscle Regeneration

Our laboratory studies skeletal muscle regeneration and the hypoxia pathway, particularly as it relates to aging. Preliminary data demonstrates that, with aging, there is a pathological loss in the enzyme aryl-hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator (ARNT). In skeletal muscle, this results in a near complete loss of normal hypoxia pathway signaling and the down-regulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), which is necessary for muscle regeneration. Our lab has shown that genetically modified mice with a loss of ARNT also exhibit diminished skeletal muscle regeneration. Currently, we are evaluating other methods to reverse this signaling deficit and restore skeletal muscle regeneration in aged mice.

Jeffrey A. Sparks, MD, MMSc

Lab Website

Our group has an overall focus on using patient-oriented and epidemiologic research studies to evaluate the etiology, outcomes, and public health burden of rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA). In particular, we perform studies to evaluate the genetic, environmental, serologic, and familial risk factors for RA, clinical trials for RA prevention, RA outcomes research focusing on the respiratory burden of RA, evaluate the effect of metabolic factors such as weight loss on RA outcomes, and investigate rheumatic manifestations of osseous sarcoidosis. We use large population-based studies for these studies, including the Nurses’ Health Studies, the Studies for the Etiology of RA, the Partners electronic medical record, the Brigham RA Sequential Study, and pharmacy claims databases. We also perform clinical trials including the Personalized Risk Estimator for RA (PRE-RA) Family Study, the Strategy to Prevent the Onset of Clinically-Apparent RA (StopRA), and the Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial (CIRT).

 

The StopRA Study: clinical trial evaluating the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine for prevention of rheumatoid arthritis

  • StopRA is recruiting participants using many strategies, such as medical record review, reviewing immunology lab reports, advertising to healthy volunteers, and advertising to cohorts of known first-degree relatives of RA patients. The summer intern will assist the research coordinators in all areas of recruitment including chart reviews, patient calls, physician emails, and patient mailings.
  • StopRA conducts regular pre-screening visits and has multiple participants enrolled who return to BWH for scheduled study visits. The summer intern will also assist the research coordinators in scheduling StopRA visits, preparing visit materials and completing post-visit activities such as data entry.

 

BRASS-ILD Study: Brigham RA Sequential Study screening for interstitial lung disease

  • BRASS-ILD is ongoing and involves recruitment and study visit activities. The summer intern would help research coordinators with BRASS-ILD study visit recruitment and conducting visits, including the spinning and processing of blood.
  • The summer intern would also be able to help with data entry and data cleaning for this study

Ali Tavakkoli, MD and Eric Sheu MD, PhD

The Laboratory of Surgical and Metabolic Research focuses on understanding the mechanisms behind resolution of type 2 diabetes following bariatric surgery.   We are particularly interested in changes in gastrointestinal tract metabolism and immunology that contribute to improvement in glucose metabolism.   To investigate these mechanisms, we employ rodent surgical models, translational studies in bariatric surgery patients, and retrospective clinical research.   Our overall goal is to develop better, less invasive treatments for diabetes and obesity.  Our work is funded by the NIH, BADERC, CIMIT, and Harvard Catalyst.  

Phillip Jason White, PhD

The Focused Ultrasound Lab (https://projects.iq.harvard.edu/fuslab) has been exploring the use of high-intensity focused ultrasound for noninvasive fasciotomies to treat acute extremity compartment syndrome (AECS). As the PI on this project (https://scholar.harvard.edu/pjasonwhite), I’ve established preliminary indications that ultrasound can be used to transcutaneously fractionate fascia in animal models, potentially allowing for partial compartmental pressure release and the prophylactic treatment of AECS.

Jessica Whited, PhD

Whited Lab

Axolotl salamanders are vertebrates whose limbs closely resemble human limbs in form and function, yet they can be completely regenerated throughout life following amputation.  My laboratory aims to understand this process at a detailed molecular, genetic, and cellular level with the hope that this increased scientific understanding will provide crucial clues to the more limited regenerative abilities of mammals such as humans.  Two essential features of axolotl limb regeneration are the formation of a specialized wound epidermis and the creation of a pool of progenitor cells, collectively called the blastema.  Using discovery-based methods, we have identified genes functioning in these two populations to promote successful regeneration.  We are currently interrogating the mechanisms of their activities using modern tools such as transgenesis, gene editing, and retroviral infections in vivo.  In the long-term, the laboratory is interested in extending these studies into mammals and, ultimately, humans in collaboration with other researchers and clinicians at BWH/HMS.

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