Potential Mentors for 2021 - 2022

A

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, weekly change management meetings, and communication meetings with different groups aimed at achieving goals and preventing problems.

B

Mia Bjelogrlic

Research Goals/Purpose:

Serve as a member of the Occupational Health Team. Performing in the role of clinical staff performing activities in the clinic with the professional staff including: patient triage, taking vital signs, measuring height and weight, obtaining past medical history, planning and participating in wellness activities. (Take a Hike, wellness emails)

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, or Stop the Bleed Education) 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 Practice Finding on Musculoskeletal System

C

Elena Cornejo Castro

Research Goals/Purpose:

The Viral Oncology Section (VOS) has developed a genome capture approach for the generation of Kaposi's sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV) whole genome sequences using next generation sequencing. This virus is the causative agent of multiple malignancies observed throughout the world. Previously, very limited genetic characterization of KSHV was possible and strains were categorized based on few genes.

Training Plan:

The generation, characterization and downstream analysis of these data requires the use and adaptation of open-source bioinformatic tools. The student will assist in the comparative analysis of herpesvirus genomes, including the identification of sequence variations. Further the student will validate and if necessary adapt a newly developed computational pipeline for long-read sequencing data of viral genomes.

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.

Chengkai Dai

Research Goals/Purpose:

To gain insights into the role of HSF1 in regulating the c-MYC-mediated transcriptional program by analyzing published RNA-seq and ChIP-seq data

Training Plan:

1. read literature to be familiar with the basics of RNA-seq and ChIP-seq analyses 2. learn how to get access to and download data from public databases (ENCODE, TCGA) 3. learn how to generate plots using downloaded data (gene expression vs. survival, Venn diagram, gene expression heatmap)

Erin Davies

Research Goals/Purpose:

Planarian flatworms are long-lived, regenerative animals that employ different reproductive strategies, including asexual reproduction through fission, sexual reproduction, and parthenogenesis. Sexually and parthenogenically reproducing animals are cross-fertilizing hermaphrodites, and the hermaphroditic reproductive system can undergo degeneration and regeneration in response to amputation, environmental cues, changes in metabolic status, and neuroendocrine signals. However, we understand very little about the mechanisms underlying reversible growth, maturation, and function of the reproductive system, and even less about the molecular basis of reproductive behavior.

Training Plan:

The Davies lab seeks a Werner H. Kirsten Student Intern Program applicant to molecularly characterize degrowth and regeneration of the planarian reproductive system in response to wounding and different types of amputation. The project will involve training in molecular biological techniques, like subcloning, in situ hybridization, immunostaining, light microscopy, image analysis and processing. Long-term behavioral assays to monitor reproductive behavior and fertility will also be employed to investigate how reproduction varies as a function of time post-regeneration. Lessons learned will impact adaptation of germline-mediated transgenesis and gene editing strategies for planarians, and will aid in the creation of an in vitro fertilization platform for planarians.

E

Timothy Egbo

Research Goals/Purpose:

The students will assist with an ongoing project in the lab under the supervision of an assigned mentor.

Training Plan:

The students will be assigned a research project. They are expected to follow all instructions directed by their mentors.

F

John Fenimore

Research Goals/Purpose:

Our lab specializes in cancer and inflammation biology, with a focus in the cytokine, interferon gamma. It will also be a vital duty of our students to assist in helping support our mouse colony via regular genotyping and other lab duties. My work focuses on mitochondrial defects in our mouse model and how it related to human diseases with examinations of fatigue, metabolic and functional changes. Our students will work with model cell lines to examine underlying factors and questions in our inflammatory model.

Training Plan:

Along with basic laboratory skills, we hope to promote critical thinking and other tasks that will answer questions regarding this model of disease. We wish to promote a feeling of inclusion in our lab. Instruction on genotyping, cell culture, staining and working with your mentor on experimental design will be a large part of your experience if we are able to get lab time, if not we will still be working on experimental designs and I can complete in lab tasks we design together.

Tracie Frederick

Research Goals/Purpose:

Researching and implementing effective methods for Library outreach and meeting the information needs of key user groups, including scientists, postdoc and postbac researchers, lab support staff, and students and interns.

Training Plan:

The Library Intern will job shadow Library staff members, assist with covering the front desk and interacting with Library patrons, assist with Library marketing and outreach (through digital signage, bulletin boards, flyers, event emails, Library newsletter articles, analysis of users statistics and demographics, and other marketing and outreach methods), assist with collection development (through book inventory, processing donated books, and shelf reading), assist with Library events (including Student Jeopardy, Winter/Summer Video Series, Take Your Child To Work Day, and Book and Media Swap), and assist with creation and teaching Library trainings.

H

Maryellen Hackett

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 with 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 with opportunities for writing for a mass audience; writing for a website; use of multimedia; producing material 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 materials; 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 Streets exhibit and other community events as they are available. Assisting in materials development. Opportunity to attend and participate in community outreach events. Continue to pursue outreach assignments as they arise. Work with creative service professionals on a variety of projects. Dec – Feb: Work on integrated communications to support institutional goals. For example: Write profile articles or produce videos 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.

L

Stephen Lockett

Research Goals/Purpose:

Solid tumors contain a wide variety of cell types that are interacting with their neighbors and more distantly through cytokine signaling. To understand this complexity, it is necessary to label tumors with fluorescence antibodies to identify the scores of different cell types and then to image them microscopically. Next the images must be analyzed to quantify the numbers of each cell type and elucidate the cellular organization of the cells by determining which cell types are neighbors to other cell types. Currently these analyses are being performed in mouse models and changes in the spatial organization of cells, particularly immune cells are being discovered when the mice are treated with experimental therapies. The expertise for understanding these changes in cellular organization of tumors, the capabilities for growing and treating mouse tumors, performing the fluorescence labeling, acquiring the images and analyzing the images with existing algorithms are all in place and underway. However, currently there is a lack of personnel to apply the algorithms to images and to present the quantitative results from analysis in the form of tables, graphs and annotated images.

Training Plan:

II. Description of Training Plan: The WHK intern will fulfill the aforementioned need. In doing so, (s)he will gain knowledge and understanding about tumors at the single cell level, about the process of labeling and acquiring microscope images and about the algorithms for analyzing the images. In terms of the analysis, the intern will learn about the process of segmentation (separation of images into objects (cells) versus background), noise and distortions in images that affect quantification, statistical methods for determining probabilities and significance of results and methods to visually present results. The intern may modify / extend existing algorithms if this is necessary and (s)he appears to have such ability. If the work involves images of human tumors, these images will have been deidentified before the intern has access to them.

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 RNA nanobiology working in conjunction with the computational RNA structure and 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:

The student will provide assistance for the experimental scientists though various computational means. Specific projects might include: 1) Independent search of literature in order to identify, read and possibly present relevant papers on RNA structure, nanobiology, and experimental approaches; 2) Learn bioinformatics and computational tools used for analysis and designing of RNA structures ; 3) Aid with data analysis collected from experimental studies; 4) Create graphs and illustrations for presentation and publication purposes ; 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.

T

Nadya Tarasova

Research Goals/Purpose:

Discovery of novel drug candidates for the treatment of cancer, immunological disorders, COVID-19 and other coronaviruses

Training Plan:

Student will learn the principles of in-silico protein structure-based drug discovery: methods of molecular docking, virtual high throughput screening using extra-large virtual libraries of synthetically accessible compounds containing billions of entries, utilization of supercomputers for drug discovery and machine learning approaches.

W

Kylie Walters

Research Goals/Purpose:

Define the many ways that ubiquitin E3 ligases are linked to disease.

Training Plan:

The students will learn how to use online databases and software for visualizing and analyzing protein structures.

Tina Watts

Research Goals/Purpose:

Serve as a member of the Occupational Health Team. Performing in the role of clinical staff performing activities in the clinic with the professional staff including: patient triage, taking vital signs, measuring height and weight, obtaining past medical history, planning and participating in wellness activities. (Take a Hike, wellness emails)

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, or Stop the Bleed Education) Perform office administrative 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: Travel medicine topic, Evidence based practice finding on Musculoskeletal system.

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.