Potential Mentors for 2019 - 2020

A

Jairaj Acharya

Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Signaling

Research Goals/Purpose:

Our group studies sphingolipid/phospholipid signaling using Drosophila and mouse as model organisms. We use a combination of genetic, biochemical and cell biological approaches to evaluate the role of genes of sphingolipid metabolism/signaling in physiologcial and pathological conditions

Training Plan:

The student will be trained in all basic methodologies required in our studies. The student will work under the supervision of a post-doctoral fellow. The student will have the opportunity to pursue small independent projects.

Jairaj Acharya

Research Goals/Purpose:

Our group studies sphingolipid/phospholipid signaling using Drosophila and mouse as model organisms. We use a combination of genetic, biochemical and cell biological approaches to evaluate the role of genes of sphingolipid metabolism/signaling in physiologcial and pathological conditions

Training Plan:

The student will be trained in all basic methodologies required in our studies. The student will work under the supervision of a post-doctoral fellow. The student will have the opportunity to pursue small independent projects.

Roxanne Angell

Research Goals/Purpose:

Project Management (PM): Enterprise Information Technology Program (EIT) and Information Technology (IT) Projects using Project Management best practices based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). Current IT projects will be included in addition to new EIT projects or initiatives. These projects will be built out and followed through the processes and techniques for initiation, planning, implementation, monitoring and controlling, and closing. IT Service Improvement: The purpose is to improve upon processes and practices within the IEIT/IT Operations Group (ITOG) by using the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) methodology of service strategy, service design, service transition, service operations and continual service improvement.

Training Plan:

Project Management (PM): The student intern will work with an EIT Project Manager on current and new IT centric project initiatives. Student will be exposed to the 47 processes, the 5 process groups, and the 10 knowledge areas of project management. Training includes biweekly Project Management Meetings, independent reading, and other project management training opportunities. IT Service Improvement: The student intern will work with the project manager on exploring and improving existing incident management, change management, configuration management, and problem management processes and procedures based on ITIL standards for continuous service improvement. Includes independent reading of best practices for IT Service Management, incident triage meetings, monthly change management meetings, configuration management meetings and communication meetings with different groups aimed at preventing problems. He/she will work with ITOG technicians transitioning to the new IT software for maximum utilization in conjunction with incident, change, configuration and problem management.

B

Kajal Biswas

Research Goals/Purpose:

BRCA2 is a known tumor suppressor and presence of mutations are associated with predisposition to breast, ovarian and pancreatic cancers. Many variants with unknown significance has been identified in this gene from genetic screening of susceptible families. In an attempt to identify the pathogenic significance of those variants, our lab has developed an mouse embryonic stem cell based technology. We are now improving that technology using recently developed CRISPR-Cas method to generate variants. The students will use this technology to generate mutations in mouse ES-cells using CRISPR-Cas method. Besides that, we have identified a several BRCA2 functional interactor gene using retroviral mediated screen. Two of the genes are NCOA1 and NCOA3, members of the steroid family receptors. The student will also work to validate these genes as a functional interactor of BRCA2 using CRISPR mediated gene activation system.

Training Plan:

The student will learn basic laboratory safety and basic biological techniques. The student will then be exposed to various molecular biological techniques like PCR, cloning, gel-electrophoresis, sequencing, western blot as well as cell culture techniques. In addition, the student will also be trained to obtain scientific information as well as maintaining and presenting experimental data in laboratory and scientific meetings.

Frank Blanchard

Research Goals/Purpose:

1. Project Description – The WHK Intern will be stationed in the Office of Public Affairs, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. The intern will work closely with the director of public affairs to become acquainted with institutional public outreach in a national laboratory environment. The intern will interact with staff at all levels of the organization and with constituents in the Frederick community. The intern will gain experience in planning and executing outreach projects to support institutional goals, crafting institutional messages for various audiences, writing, editing, photography, videography, using graphics and other visuals to communicate, website content management, social media best practices, face-to-face community interactions, and interacting and working with a creative services staff. The intern will also gain experience in internal business communications and intranet content management. Goal – The project is designed to give the WHK intern an understanding of how a public affairs office operates within a national laboratory environment and how communications can be used strategically to support the mission, and enhance the reputation, of a biomedical research organization. The internship will also provide experience with internal communications supporting best business practices and staff engagement. The intern will develop specific skill sets through writing for a mass audience; writing for a website; use of multimedia; writing and producing visuals for social media; business communication; tailoring messages for target audiences; converting scientific jargon into everyday language; researching and writing a news story; working with designers, photographers, and other creative individuals to produce successful outreach projects; and preparing for a trade show exhibit.

Training Plan:

2. Student Plan – The WHK intern will receive assignments as they arise throughout the year. For a general overview: Jun – Aug: Introduction to staff, community contacts. Writing exercises with a focus on the fundamentals of news-writing. Write 2-3 stories for Insite, including at least one scientific article, and explore multimedia options to accompany texts. Repurpose/recast as warranted to the Poster, FNL website, social media, handout, etc. Sep – Nov: Assist in preparing for In The Street exhibit and other community events, adding planning meetings and contributing ideas. Assisting in materials development. Opportunity to attend and participate in community outreach events. Continue to pursue writing and multimedia assignments as they arise. Dec – Feb: Work on integrated communications to support institutional goals. For example: Write profile articles on WSK interns for publication in Insite and the Poster. Continue with multimedia assignments. Mar – May: Assist in preparing exhibit, handout, and talking points for community events as they arise. Contribute to design of a sponsorship advertisement, i.e. the Weinberg speaker series. Work with SPGM on production. Continue producing materials for Insite, Poster, other channels.

Xavier Bofill De Ros

Research Goals/Purpose:

We are interested in studying the processing and maturation of miRNAs. The final goal of our research is to translate the knowledge on miRNA biogenesis to an improved design of shRNAs that could be used as a gene therapy tool. In particular, the student will explore how different mutations influence miRNA processing.

Training Plan:

The student will learn the basic concepts of miRNA/shRNA biology such as the canonical biogenesis pathway and mRNA targeting. The project will involve the design and construction of plasmids containing different mutations. The student will gain skills in general techniques in molecular biology such as DNA isolation, cloning and mutagenesis, as well as the use of specific programs for DNA sequence manipulation and analysis.

C

Ravindra Babu Chalamalasetty

Research Goals/Purpose:

Wnts are powerful secreted signaling molecules required for stem cell potency and cell-fate decisions in embryonic stem cells, early embryonic development and tumorigenesis. The current focus of our laboratory is to identify the key lineage determinants downstream of Wnt signaling pathway during embryonic stem cell differentiation.

Training Plan:

The Student will be trained under my supervision and will learn the concepts of the project. Student will be taught basics of Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Embryonic stem cell culture system, developmental biology and bioinformatics. They will then participate in independent projects with the expectation of experimental set-up, data analysis and record keeping and presentation.

Deborah Citrin

Research Goals/Purpose:

Learn the basic assays used in radiation biology research, learn basic molecular skills, learn to ask an experimental question, learn to form a hypothesis, learn to design and carry out experiments.

Training Plan:

Explore the effects of radiation on prostate tumor growth, assist post-doctoral fellow with experiments to explore molecular events after radiation.

D

Ira Daar

Laboratory of Cell and Developmental Signaling

Research Goals/Purpose:

The mechanisms controlling morphogenetic movements during development involve modifications of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion. Abnormal modifications of these adhesion systems are often associated with metastatic progression. Our present focus is on a subset of the Eph family of molecules that are de-regulated in a wide variety of metastatic cancers.

Training Plan:

The student will be taught to use the Xenopus system under my supervision or that of a postdoctoral fellow in the Cancer and Developmental Biology Laboratory. The project will involve completing the functional characterization of the cellular and developmental effects mediated by the intracellular portion of the EphrinB transmembrane Eph ligand. 1) EphrinB mutants will be expressed in developing embryos to determine structural motifs that are important for EphrinB-induced developmental effects. 2) EphrinB will be co-expressed with proteins found to be associated with EphrinB. The ability of these proteins to physically interact with EphrinB will be assayed. The ability to modulate EphrinB-induced developmental effects will also be assessed. 3) The ability of EphrinB to modulate the protein’s activity will also be tested.

Ira Daar

Research Goals/Purpose:

The mechanisms controlling morphogenetic movements during development involve modifications of cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion. Abnormal modifications of these adhesion systems are often associated with metastatic progression. Our present focus is on a subset of the Eph family of molecules that are de-regulated in a wide variety of metastatic cancers.

Training Plan:

The student will be taught to use the Xenopus system under my supervision or that of a postdoctoral fellow in the Cancer and Developmental Biology Laboratory. The project will involve completing the functional characterization of the cellular and developmental effects mediated by the intracellular portion of the EphrinB transmembrane Eph ligand. 1) EphrinB mutants will be expressed in developing embryos to determine structural motifs that are important for EphrinB-induced developmental effects. 2) EphrinB will be co-expressed with proteins found to be associated with EphrinB. The ability of these proteins to physically interact with EphrinB will be assayed. The ability to modulate EphrinB-induced developmental effects will also be assessed. 3) The ability of EphrinB to modulate the protein’s activity will also be tested.

Lisheng Dai

Research Goals/Purpose:

MicroRNAs comprise a novel class of small, non-coding endogenous RNAs that regulate gene expression by directing their target mRNAs for degradation or translational repression. Current project is to understand the mechanisms of microRNA biogenesis using CRISPR/Cas9 screen

Training Plan:

Student will do plasmids construction and mammalian cell culture work, and other regular or challenge experiments to gain the insight of biology research. Student will also read relevant literatures and participate in scientific discussions in the lab meeting once a week. Student will also present his/her work in group meetings and listen to the presentations of others. The goal is to help student to accumulate the knowledge of biology, and learn most RNA biology related techniques. Moreover, the student will get training for improving his/her critical thinking skill and efficiently plan the experiments, as well as scientific interpretation of the results.

Natalia De Val Alda

Research Goals/Purpose:

CMM offers investigators access to unique expertise and EM technologies that allow our partners to explore new avenues of research in order to enhance the knowledge of biological systems. Our lab provides high-resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) with the use of our 300kEV Titan Krios electron microscope coupled with a direct detector k2 camera. Supporting equipment includes 2 FEI Vitrobot, as well as several FEI scopes to assess sample quality. The research goals for the WHK student will be to be able to understand all the EM pipeline, from sample preparation to data collection. The purpose will be for the student to become an independent user in our lab.

Training Plan:

The training plan is to become familiar with all the main procedures used in Electron Microscopy. He or she will be mainly working with myself as well as Htet Khant. He or she will learn how to work with cells, viruses as well as protein-protein complexes. This will give him/her a broad spectrum of the type of samples we work with at the CMM. He or she will focus mainly in the TEM technique. After the two months training, he or she will be able to do some of the sample preparations and data collection by himself/herself. Of course, he or she will be always monitored by me or Htet. He or she will start with some theoretical training about what is a TEM scope (this will take one or two days) and after that he or she will start working on the bench with Htet. At the end of his/her training, he or she will understand the main points of the EM technique and being able to prepare some of the easy samples by himself/herself.

F

Amber Fraley

Research Goals/Purpose:

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Training Plan:

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G

Mitzi Guarino

Research Goals/Purpose:

Learn application of project management principles.

Training Plan:

Participate in Project Management Training Develop Project Artifacts Assist Project Manager

H

Sarah Hooper

Research Goals/Purpose:

To introduce the concept of Occupational Health Medicine

Training Plan:

Performing the following skills: Vital Signs (temperature, blood pressure, pulse, respirations, pulse oximetry), visual acuity, whispered voice testing, color vision, medication reconciliation, electronic medical record, venipuncture, informed consent, collection of specimens (midstream urine, venous blood sampling), intramuscular injections, intradermal skin testing, EKG, ear irrigation, eyewash, cardiopulmonary resuscitation, automatic external defibrillator AED) Independently plan, execute and evaluate a Wellness activity. (Take your child to work day, Take a Hike, Monthly wellness topics, Take Back your Lunch, Stairway to Wellness) Perform office adminisrative practices: answering telephone, scheduling appointments, scanning, participating with the quality control audit for scanning and assisting with medical records storage. Writing an occupational health article for the Poster. Deliver one presentation to the OHS staff at the weekly staff meeting in regard to one of the following topics: 1. Travel Medicine Topic 2. Evidence Based Medicine on care of URI

J

Brad Jakubison

Research Goals/Purpose:

The research objective is to train students in hematology, molecular biology, and cancer biology. Student will learn techniques utilizing DNA, RNA, and protein based assays. The focus of the project is on hematopoietic stem cell maintenance and biology. Specifically, this project studies the molecular mechanisms of ID2.

Training Plan:

The student will initially learn the basics of molecular biology. The student will eventually transition into cell based assays and histology. Lastly, the students will perform immunofluorescence and flow cytometry assays. Collectively, this opportunity will give the students a well-rounded experience of a research laboratory.

Morgan Johnson

Research Goals/Purpose:

Our lab specializes in cancer and inflammation biology, with a focus in the cytokine, interferon gamma. A student that elects to work with me will focus their time and attention learning the inner workings of the immune system and how it influences cancer and vice versa. The focus of my research is investigating the role of exosomes in the growth/metastasis of cancer in relation to interferon gamma signaling, with implications of a potential cancer therapeutic drugs. In parallel with this, and other experiments within the lab, we work to identify differences of the mice utilized in our lab through genotyping technologies.

Training Plan:

The ultimate goal of participating within the WHK Internship program is for students to become proficient in basic laboratory skills, as well as gain new skills for career development. Each skill learned/used will help in answering our research questions. For example, students will learn how to properly pipet in order to run a gel electrophoresis necessary for the genotyping of mice. Additionally, students will learn how to work with cells in culture in order to execute experiments utilizing the cells. Other techniques students will learn include, PCR reactions and protein assays.

K

Suhas Kharat

Research Goals/Purpose:

Student will learn basic molecular biology techniques such as plasmid isolation, primer designing, PCR reaction setup, restriction digestion, DNA ligation, bacterial transformation. Apart from molecular biology students will also work on some bioinformatic assignments such as analyzing DNA and protein sequences in BLAST and ClustalW tools. As part of specialized training students will learn fluorescence microscopy.

Training Plan:

Similar to Research goals.

Ron Kunz

Research Goals/Purpose:

Assessment and planning for Emergency Operations.

Training Plan:

1. Research the standards for Emergency Management. 2. Learn the Operations of Environmental, Health and Safety 3. We will partner with the Occupational Health Services to plan and execute the Stop the Bleed Program. 4. Complete the basic FEMA training.

L

Yanling Liu

Research Goals/Purpose:

The internship provides opportunities for students to work with ABCS staff members and NCI/FNLCR investigators on bioinformatics and machine learning projects such as data mining and image segmentation via deep neural networks. These projects aim to leverage recent advances in machine learning and deep learning to enhance ABCS analytical capability to accelerate biomedical research at NCI/FNLCR. Intern students will participate in essential steps in these projects, including but not limited to system installation, familiarization with Linux environment, basic programming using python and other scripting languages, deep neural network training and adoption, and understanding of bioinformatics data formats. These experiences will help intern students to be better-prepared and informed for college school and professional life.

Training Plan:

TBD

M

Buyong Ma

Research Goals/Purpose:

Computational Investigation of sequence and structural aspect of the key molecules involved in immunology

Training Plan:

(1) Using computational biology / Bioinformatics approaches, such as sequence alignment, protein structure prediction, and molecular dynamics simulation tools to investigate the structure and function relationship of proteins involved in immunological pathways. (2) study the complex protein–protein interactions and networks to get insight into immune responses. (3) analyzing protein structures of antibody-antigen complex

Tyler Malys

Research Goals/Purpose:

Provide Statistical and Data Management Services to Scientific Laboratories at the National Cancer Institute at Frederick.

Training Plan:

Gain Proficiency in Data: Manipulation, Storage, Visualization & Analysis

Nikolaos Mandalos

Research Goals/Purpose:

Pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) can give rise to all of the three germ layers that establish early mammalian embryogenesis, and eventually generate all of the embryonic and adult tissues. This fact makes them an interesting tool to study early embryogenesis or/and carcinogenesis either in vivo or in vitro. Our lab is focusing on investigating the molecular and functional factors that orchestrate the pluripotency and differentiation of PSCs.

Training Plan:

The student will be educated and trained, under my supervision, in order to develop skills that will help him/her to design, keep record and execute a short research project. The project will involve several experimental approaches that are used in the lab such as Stem Cell tissue culturing and analysis of mutagenic phenotype during embryogenesis.

Arun Mishra

Research Goals/Purpose:

Learning about mouse models used in research, special considerations for BRCA2 mutant mice. Learning regular molecular biology techniques like PCR, western blot, plasmid isolation etc will be focused. Basic knowledge about DNA replication and repair mechanism will be taught.

Training Plan:

After learning the basics mentioned above the student will be handed a mini-project related to DNA repair mechanism in the light of BRCA2 mutation.

N

Kedar Narayan

Research Goals/Purpose:

At the Center for Molecular Microscopy, 3-D electron microscopic imaging of large cellular and tissue samples at nanoscale resolutions is carried out primarily by a technique called FIB-SEM, or Focused Ion Beam Scanning Electron Microscopy. Extraction of features of interest from these large image datasets, called “segmentation”, reveals new biology and helping confirm hypotheses. However, segmentation is a manual and a relatively slow step. In this research goal, we aim to set up and streamline manual and semi-automated segmentation of FIB-SEM datasets with the aim of efficiently visualizing biological structures in 3-D. Additionally, we aim to feed these "ground truthed" segmentation datasets to train a separately designed neural network, with the ultimate goal of accurate automated segmentation of FIB-SEM data.

Training Plan:

The WHK SIP students will be trained by CMM personnel to use segmentation software, and will be given training FIB-SEM datasets to practice and sharpen their skills. The CMM is highly collaborative, so there is a variety of interesting projects that require segmentation of specific cellular features, such as mitochondria, bacteria etc. The students will be expected to segment out these features as required, both for direct analysis, as well as for training the neural network.

P

Lorena Parlea

Research Goals/Purpose:

As scientific understanding of human diseases and their treatments expands, there is an ever-increasing focus on developing therapeutics that function on the smallest of scales. Nanomedicine can be used to fight afflictions from the moment they are expressed using gene-silencing therapy. The discovery of RNA interference (RNAi) served as a key to open the door for human gene therapy based on small interfering RNAs (siRNAs). Ever since, harnessing the silencing functions that siRNAs carry out within cells has become an endeavor of great importance; RNA itself may offer the most convenient method of delivering therapeutics to cells through the construction of functionalized RNA-based nanostructures. Student intern will be part of projects related to experimental RNA nanobiology working in conjunction with the computational RNA structure nano design component of our laboratory. Some potential projects are enumerated below. Final decisions on specific topics will be made after detailed discussions with the intern after arrival.

Training Plan:

Experimentally test and validate various RNA Nanoparticles self-assembly. Specific steps in the training will involve: 1) Independent search of literature in order to identify, read and possibly present relevant papers on RNA structure, nanobiology, and experimental approaches; 2) Learn experimental techniques used in our laboratory; 3) Aid in running experimental protocols used in RNA nano assembly; 4) Run various experiments to analyze and determine the structural features and functionalities of the designed nanoparticles; 5) Attend seminars when possible; 6) Collaborate with other scientists; 7) Aid in writing results in scientific papers.

Vladimir Popov

Research Goals/Purpose:

The Partnership Development Office works to establish partnerships and collaborations among Frederick National Laboratory scientists and external researchers in government, academia, industry, and the nonprofit research community. The intern will work on projects related to marketing and outreach (internal and external), business development, intellectual property and technology transfer, and strategic partnership development. The intern will get a unique view into the business side of operating a national laboratory.

Training Plan:

The intern will work with the individual members of the PDO on a variety of projects: development of strategic outreach materials (including articles and social media content), work on various partnership agreements, intellectual property research and technology transfer projects, and more. The student will attend a variety of meetings related to various partnership development work. The internship will involve a few large projects as well as several smaller projects throughout the year. One large projects will culminate in a poster that the student can present at the student poster session. This project can be tailored to the intern’s specific interests as the PDO covers a large spectrum of work.

Melissa Porter

Research Goals/Purpose:

The student will work at the Office of Scientific Operations (OSO) within the NCI at Frederick and will spend time working with the public affairs specialist, administrative officer, and educational outreach specialist on his/her primary goal of communicating scientific and health information from the NCI at Frederick. Official projects will include 1) developing articles for the NCI at Frederick online newsletter The Poster, 2) developing and managing a social media plan to be implemented by the NCI at Frederick and 3) additionally assisting in various internal and external outreach events that focus on communicating health and well-being, the NCI mission, and advantages of STEM education for Frederick County youth 4) attending various lectures and seminar series to learn about the science that is done at the NCI at Frederick, 5) find and read various research papers to understand the science and background of individual scientists and labs at the NCI at Frederick.

Training Plan:

The overall goal is to obtain an appreciation for communicating scientific discovery in plain language to the larger public. The student will leave the internship with a greater understanding of how to communicate complex scientific topics to a lay audience. The intern will develop specific skills sets throughout the course of the internship to achieve this goal. The skills will include but are not limited to the following: • Written communication o Write a series of articles highlighting various researchers and various activities at the NCI at Frederick for the Poster. • Oral Communication o Will be responsible for developing and assist in presenting a scientific research poster to a public audience. o Will also train and mentor the WHK intern that will be working in the office over the summer. • Public Affairs & Outreach o Will assist with various outreach events throughout the course of her time in the internship. The will gain experience with developing programs, handling professional interactions with the public, and advocating and promoting the proper communication of complex scientific discoveries and STEM education for Frederick County youth. The opportunities will enhance experiential learning for her/his development in scientific communication.

Anu Puri

Research Goals/Purpose:

Development of Tunable & On-demand Deliverable RNAi-based Nanotherapeutics for Treatment of Cancer

Training Plan:

Student will be involved in the development of lipid-based and polymeric nanoparticles, optimize methods for siRNA encapsulation. He/she will perform in vitro screening of these delivery vehicles. He/she will learn various techniques which include: nanoparticle fabrication, characterization of nanoparticles, tissue culture, FACS, cell toxicity assays, fluorescence microscopy, lipid handling, and gel electrophoresis and ELISA assays.

S

Tanmoy Sarkar

Research Goals/Purpose:

Studying the role of Id2 protein in hematopoietic stem cell development and cancer. Id proteins play important role in the maintenance of hematopoietic stem cell population and also play an important role in hematopoietic malignancies. This project will particularly designed to identify the molecular mechanism of Id2 protein in normal and oncogenic hematopoiesis

Training Plan:

Student will study the genotype of Id2 Knock out mice and will be associated with cloning of Id2 cDNA using bacterial system. Students will be exposed to molecular techniques namely DNA isolation, PCR, Cloning and plasmid isolation.

Bruce Shapiro

Research Goals/Purpose:

The study of the structure and function of ribonucleic acids (RNA) is an important area of biological and computational research. Understanding of the role that these molecules play in a cell's life cycle has become very important. The various types of RNAs that control a cell's normal function are tRNA, mRNA, rRNA and most recently discovered RNAi. RNAs, such as the viruses HIV, polio and the common cold, to name a few, are detrimental to living organisms. Our research deals with the basic biological concepts associated with RNA structure function relationships and also the development of computational and experimental methodologies and tools to unravel these relationships. Included are algorithms for RNA folding and analysis of the folding results. We also employ machine learning techniques encompassing techniques such as neural network methodologies. We do molecular mechanics and molecular dynamics simulations on RNA and RNA/protein complexes to understand atomic scale interactions that determine the functionality of these molecules. We also explore ways of using RNA structure/function relationships to define RNA-based nanobiology entities. These RNA based structures have the potential for therapeutic uses amongst other possibilities. Several software approaches are being explored and developed to assist in the design of these RNA-based therapeutic nanoparticles.

Training Plan:

Student intern will be working on projects related to computational approaches to RNA structure analysis. Some potential projects are enumerated below: 1) Apply several software tools developed by our laboratory, and others to explore RNA structure and function. 2) Carry out molecular mechanics and molecular dynamics simulations of RNA using high performance computing facilities. 3) Develop computer algorithms for improving RNA structure prediction and analysis methods for both secondary and tertiary structure. 4) Searches for interesting functional features in RNA sequences and their structures. 5) Find and understand RNA folding patterns using various algorithms. 6) Enhance and help develop new algorithms for our computational RNA-based software. This includes adding features for prediction and characterization of our RNA nanobiology structures for potential therapeutic use. 7) Apply coarse-grained simulation techniques to RNA nano constructs to understand their dynamic behavior. 8) Help to develop and maintain our web servers. Specific steps in the project will involve: 1) Library work to find and read relevant papers on RNA structure, nanobiology, computational and experimental approaches. 2) Familiarization with computers and software in our lab and experimental techniques. 3) Learn about software development methods and experimental techniques used in our laboratory. 4) Writing and/or modifying software as the need arises. 5) Running various software packages to analyze and characterize structural features. 6) Attending seminars when possible. 7) Collaboration with other scientists. 8) Writing results in scientific papers.

Genbin Shi

Research Goals/Purpose:

Structure based drug design

Training Plan:

Synthesis of a novel inhibitor of enzymes

Dhirendra Simanshu

Research Goals/Purpose:

RAS mutations are found in one-third of all human cancers. NCI established the RAS initiative in the fall of 2013 to explore innovative approaches for attacking the proteins encoded by mutant forms of RAS genes and to ultimately create effective, new therapies for RAS-related cancers. Our group leads the structural biology efforts within the RAS Initiative. Our aim is to gain structural insights into wild-type and oncogenic mutants of KRAS in complex with various effectors/regulatory/partner proteins, which may identify novel binding pockets or interfaces amenable to attack with small molecules. Recently, our group has solved the first structure of KRAS4b protein in complex with PDEdelta, a protein that plays an important role in targeting KRAS4b to cellular membranes. This protein-protein complex structure shows every amino acid of full-length, fully processed KRAS protein for the first time. Working to gain structural insights into KRAS mutations, we have solved the first structures of multiple oncogenic mutants of KRAS4b in the GTP-bound form. The GTP-bound forms of these mutants are the most common drivers of human cancers. For more information, please visit RAS Structural Biology group web page: https://www.cancer.gov/research/key-initiatives/ras/target-identification/structural-biology

Training Plan:

During the internship period, the student will learn basic protein biochemistry, biophysics, and structural biology techniques. Our goal will be to train the student in designing the experimental plan, performing various structural biology experiments and troubleshooting the potential problems. The student will work under the supervision of a scientist and will have the opportunity to pursue small structural biology projects. Additionally, the student will be trained to present their work in laboratory meeting and poster presentation in scientific meetings.

Shree Ram Singh

Research Goals/Purpose:

Our current research is directed toward understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms by which stem cells regulate tissue homeostasis, regeneration, and tumorigenesis. We are utilizing Drosophila model to understand the above mechanisms. Specifically, we are using adult gastrointestinal tissue system to characterize the genes/signaling pathways that regulate stem cell behavior and tumor formation. The knowledge gained from investigating stem cell regulation in Drosophila model will provide a basis for understanding how human adult stem cells respond during normal and pathological conditions.

Training Plan:

At the beginning of the internship, the student will be trained in the basic methodologies of laboratory research. The student will be working on specific projects related to Drosophila intestinal and kidney stem cells and drug screening. The student will be exposed to various techniques in genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, and molecular biology. The student will participate in laboratory seminars and will present their research work in meetings.The student intern will collaborate with other members in the laboratory and will participate in writing manuscripts.

Shweta Singh

Research Goals/Purpose:

The Student will have the opportunity to learn about genetically modified mouse models along with basic techniques for handing DNA, RNA and protein. He/She will also be able to learn about basic molecular biology techniques and hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells regulation.

Training Plan:

The Student will start by performing molecular biology techniques like DNA isolation and PCR and then exposed to cells isolation from mouse bone marrow, flow cytometry and immunoflorescence.

Yurong Song

Research Goals/Purpose:

To characterize mouse cancer cell lines in in vitro and in vivo system for preventative cancer vaccine test

Training Plan:

The student will learn to culture cells using aseptic technique, perform viability analysis of cells, bank cells as master stock and working stock, analyze vaccine target expression by Western blot or flow cytometry, determine the haplotype expression by flow cytometry, assess the proliferation rate by XTT assay, and prepare cells for in vivo subcutaneous injection into mice. The student will also learn data analysis, preparing data for presentation, and data presentation in our weekly lab meeting. Furthermore, he/she will learn time management skill and project management skill, effective teamwork skill, and also get to know what a biomedical scientist's life is like.

Teresa Stitely

Research Goals/Purpose:

The goals of this student program will be to incorporate the student(s) into the process for the identification of roles, responsibilities, duties and other job elements to determine what safety training and medical surveillance are required for an employee based on their specific work environment. The program will also require the student to participate in the development of training using applications supported by the Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Directorate. The student should be proficient in Microsoft application suite and basic knowledge of web design using commercial off the shelf software applications.

Training Plan:

The student(s) will be involved in learning how an employee's job profile questionnaire maps to safety training and medical surveillance. They will be involved in the development of safety trainings using various software programs available to support the needs of the EHS Directorate. In addition, they will be involved in monitoring and tracking compliance related to safety.

Monalisa Swain

Research Goals/Purpose:

One of the ongoing projects of the lab is structure-based targeting the nuclease proteins pUL15C and pORF29C with small molecule inhibitors. The focus of the project is to obtain protein/ protein-drug crystals and determine high resolution structure. The student will work under the supervision of a senior laboratory researcher, one of the lab trainees that has significant experience in crystallization.

Training Plan:

The student will be trained in methods of basic protein biochemistry, growing large scale culture and large-scale protein purification. All necessary instrumentation is available in the laboratory. Upon successful protein purification of the target protein, the student will be trained in (i), setting up crystallization trays using robots (ii) evaluating crystal quality by microscopy, and (iii) and optimization to obtain high quality crystals. Several potent small molecule inhibitors have already been identified for both proteins.

W

Abdul Waheed

Research Goals/Purpose:

The goal of the research in our lab is to understand the molecular biology of HIV-1 replication, in particular, mechanisms of HIV-1 assembly and release. Several host-factors are involved in the process of virus assembly and release. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of HIV-1 assembly and release would eventually help to design the drugs that inhibit the late stages of HIV-1 replication cycle. Several drugs have been tested in the lab that showed antiviral activity for HIV-1. Since the live HIV-1 work is not possible for the student intern, we would test these compounds for its anti-viral activity in other viruses like MLV, EIAV, FIV, etc. The ultimate goal of our research is to identify novel targets for the development of anti-HIV therapies that can be used to treat infected patients.

Training Plan:

The student will be trained to learn a variety of techniques in the fields of molecular and cell biology, biochemistry, bioimaging, and virology. These includes recombinant DNA techniques involving cloning of genes in plasmid vectors, mammalian cell culture maintenance, transfection of plasmids in mammalian cells, immunoblot analysis, fluorescent microscopy, etc. The student will learn how to use of general laboratory the, and the basics of many of the assays used in the laboratory. The student will gain experience in designing the experimental plan, performing the experiments and troubleshooting the potential problems. The student will learn how to maintain the records of their data, and trained to present their work in both formal and informal lab meetings and poster presentation in scientific meetings.

Kylie Walters

Research Goals/Purpose:

Our group specializes in defining structure/function relationships of molecular machines and signaling pathways. We are especially interested in the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway, which is a therapeutic target for cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. A unique feature of our group is the use of structural biology and biophysics methods, including NMR, x-ray crystallography, and cryoelectron microscopy. By using such techniques, we obtain mechanistic insights that provide foundational knowledge of biological activities and new therapeutic strategies.

Training Plan:

Students work with senior lab members to aid in structural biology studies. They learn how to prepare samples and analyze data, depending on the interests of the student.

Jiming Wang

Research Goals/Purpose:

The student will learn the basics of the initiation and progression of inflammation-associated cancer. She/he will be familiar with how host and cancer cells respond to environmental factors that promote the motility and accumulation of host inflammatory cells in response. The student will understand the concept of "receptor" and "ligand" interaction, which governs the process, and therefore may form the basis for development of novel therapeutic targets.

Training Plan:

1. Learn the concept of "inflammation" and "cancer". 2. Understand the relationship between inflammation and cancer. 3. Understand the cause of inflammation and related key events. 4. Learn how micro-environmental factors affect the progression of inflammation and cancer. 5. Learn essential techniques for measuring the key events.

Christopher Westlake

Research Goals/Purpose:

Ultrastructure Analysis of Primary Cilium assembly Almost every cell in the human body contains at least one cilium. While some cilia in human cells function in locomotion, not unlike cilia on the surface of the single celled organism paramecium, most of our bodies cilia are immotile and function in cellular signaling. Hence the cilium is often referred to as the cell’s antennae. In humans cilia are critical for reproduction and embryonic development and are needed for vision and for our sense of smell. Defects in cilia function are associated with more than 20 genetic disorders and cancer. We are investigating how membrane transport regulators function in the building of the cilium, a process termed ciliogenesis. Through the use of various genetic approaches in cells and zebrafish embryos and cellular imaging we are able to understand how ciliogenesis occurs and to determine what proteins regulate this process.

Training Plan:

Students will use computer based analysis programs to map and identify structures involved in the assembly of the primary cilium. Electron microscopy images captured from cells will be converted into three-dimensional representations of the developing cilium. Students will become proficient at using imaging software to generate 2D and 3D animation structure models for presentations and publications. Through this work students will be gain a deeper understanding of various aspects of cell biology. Students may also have the opportunity to gain wet laboratory experience in cell biology techniques, including cell culture and microscopy imaging (epifluorescence and confocal microscopy).

Jami Willette Brown

Research Goals/Purpose:

The research interests of SIP student will be to understand the physiological activities of IKKa in lung tumorigenesis and inflammation and reveal the mechanisms of how inhibitors can influence hyperplasia. We will be using genetic animal models, including Ikka conditional knockout, Ikka kinase inactive knock-in, and IKKa transgenic mice, as well as established cell lines and a variety of molecular biology approaches.

Training Plan:

OBJECTIVES: a. To perform gene specific PCR for identifying genetically modified mice. b. To assess the effect of inhibitors on established lung SCC cell lines. c. To perform protein/DNA/histological analysis assays on tissue preparations from mice. METHOD OF INVESTIGATION: a. Identify mice by genotyping for experimental protocols. b. Perform in vitro culturing of lung SCC cell lines. c. Perform western blot analysis of proteins from cell preparations. d. Perform histological staining and evaluation of prepared slides.

Y

Jie Yin

Research Goals/Purpose:

Our lab studies the effect of immune system mediated cellular responses in shaping the antitumor and autoimmune environments. We focus on the role of interferon-gamma (IFNg), a signaling protein secreted by immune cells, on the development of autoimmune diseases and in the context of cancer immunotherapy. Our lab developed a mouse model that chronically expresses IFNg as a tool to study how persistent expression of IFNg alters host physiology. Under the scope of our lab interest, my first research goal is to investigate the role of an immunosuppressive peptide as a potential therapeutic avenue to treating autoimmune diseases. My second research goal is to engage nanomaterials (e.g. nanodiamonds) with IFNg as a potential antitumor treatment. Selected WHK student will have the opportunities to work with nanomaterials and immunosuppressive peptides in the context of antitumor and anti-inflammatory responses.

Training Plan:

Selected WHK student will learn molecular and cellular techniques, mammalian cell culture and experimental design under the scope of my research goals. The technical tasks of the student may include: 1) Pipetting and calculating experimental perimeters 2) Genotyping transgenic mice by PCR and gel electrophoresis 3) Culturing mammalian immune and cancer cells 4) Measuring gene expression by RT-qPCR 5) Measuring protein expression by western blots 6) Tracking fluorescent nanoparticles The soft skills the student will learn include: 1) Presenting scientific projects concisely and effectively 2) Learning to design proper controls for experiments 3) Learning the foundation and current trends of immunology and oncology

Z

Paul Zakrevsky

Research Goals/Purpose:

The research being conducted in the RNA structure and design section focuses on the characterization of rationally designed RNA structures, with an emphasis on RNA nanotechnology and nanomedicine applications. The RNA interference pathway (RNAi) has become a powerful tool that can be used to knockdown the expression of a target gene in mammalian cells. This RNAi response can be triggered by the introduction of short RNA molecules called small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) to cells. Rather than simply delivery these siRNAs to cells by themselves, current research in our lab involves the design of RNA nanostructures to package siRNAs in such a way that the nanostructure provides additional advantageous properties for cellular delivery. A student intern in the lab will be involved in projects that aim to characterize RNA nanostructures through the use of various experimental techniques.

Training Plan:

Students will learn a variety of techniques. This begins with developing common laboratory skills such as pipette technique, buffer preparation, etc., as well as performing techniques required for RNA preparation such as polymerase chain reaction (PCR), enzymatic RNA synthesis and purification methods. Students will be involving in developing and performing protocols for the assembly of RNA nanoparticles, as well as the characterization of the resulting structures' assembly and function using techniques that include gel electrophoresis and mammalian cell culture.