Joe Reel describes his experience during his Summer Studentship 2022.
Studentship Awardee 2022: Helene Arnold
Hi, my name is Helene Arnold. I am a 4th year neuroscience undergraduate student at Trinity College. I completed a 6-week AIMS-RN internship in Dr. Claire McCoy’s lab within RCSI’s School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences, under the supervision of Conor Duffy.
During this time, my project’s aim was to identify relationships between microRNA and their targets involved in neuroinflammation and MS. Understanding how microRNA and their targets interact is important to construct new therapeutics that reverse or combat the inflammation characteristic of MS.
I looked at how microRNAs can impact microglial pro- or anti-inflammatory states, which contribute to disease progression or recovery, respectively. To achieve this, microglia cells were cultured and treated with pro- and/or anti-inflammatory stimulations, and then ELISA and PCR tests were conducted to view the expression pattern of inflammatory cytokines, specific microRNAs, and their predicted targets. Then, I reviewed the results to identify whether new microRNA target relationships could be suspected in the context of pro- and anti-inflammatory microglia states.
The contribution of this project and future research for identifying microRNA target relationships in differentially activated microglia, is relevant for therapeutic approaches to reduce neuroinflammation and trigger a recovery phenotype in MS.
Studentship Awardee 2022: Kais Al-Khaldi
Kais Al-Khaldi incoming 3rd year medical student, and here are some questions I answered about AIMS-RN and my experience so far.
One thing I learned:
The intricacies behind dissection and cell line harvest from animal models, in addition to the organization required to facilitate multiple labs working together in the same space
Being allowed to show my competencies and giving me the autonomy to run my own project and experiments
Something I want others to know:
This internship is what you make it out to be. The potential for networking is so big given the number of PhD students you will be working with every day. People also love talking about their projects so if you are interested in what they are doing ask as many questions as you can. In research you are a lifelong student, you never know if a simple idea for you might be the solution someone has been looking for to solve an issue they encountered.
Something I didn’t expect to have:
Supervisors and PhD students that were so keen and supportive to teach me and allow me to work to my potential and capabilities.
I chose AIMS-RN as a platform for me to get exposed to the realm of neurology as it’s a field of research I haven’t experienced before and is a field of medicine I am interested in pursuing, so joining the network was a huge learning opportunity for me to get up to witness the groundwork of what is going on in the current field of MS research in the hopes of improving the lives of people around the world.
Studentship Awardee 2022: Mohammad Mofatteh
I am Mohammad Mofatteh, a second-year medical student at Queen’s University Belfast. Having completed my PhD at the University of Cambridge and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Oxford, I had established a strong research career before starting my medical training at Queen’s. At Queen’s, I am planning to continue my academic activities while studying for my medical degree. Being awarded an AIMS-RN scholarship enabled me to spend my summer at Welcome Wolfson Institute of Experimental Medicine, working with Prof Denise Fitzgerald and Dr Racheal Kee on multiple sclerosis to expand my horizon and learn new skills.
Briefly, MS is a neurodegenerative disease where immune cells attack the myelin sheath of neurons. One of the important protective cells in the immune system is regulatory T cells (Treg) that can drive the maturation of cells responsible for producing that myelin sheath (oligodendrocytes). However, the mechanism by which this has been done remains elusive. In my project, I used animal models which had injuries to their myelin sheath to investigate the expression of a molecule, namely MHC-II, at different time points after the injury. Understanding the pattern by which these molecules are made in cells can help us to realise their roles in the maturation of oligodendrocyte precursor cells and, overall, the remyelination process.
I would like to devote the rest of my life to research and training until I can become a successful academic neurosurgeon at a world-class institute to continue helping my patients and pushing the boundaries of science.
AIMS-RN goes global!
We are delighted to announce that one of our founding members, Dr Alerie Guzman de la Fuente has been awarded the highly prestigious Miguel Servet Fellowship from the Spanish Ministry of Health.
Through this Fellowship, Alerie will establish her independent MS research group at the Institute of Health and Biomedical Research of Alicante and CSIC-UMH Neuroscience Institute of Alicante, Spain.
While we are very sad to see Alerie go, we are delighted for her and can’t wait to see the scientific discoveries she makes in the future. Alerie will maintain a Visiting Researcher position in QUB and we look forward to continued collaboration to tackle some of the major challenges in MS research. Best of luck Alerie!
NI MS Research Network committee wins the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Culture Prize
Congratulations to Northern Ireland MS Research Network committee who recently won the Vice-Chancellor’s Research Culture Prize at Queen’s University Belfast. This prize is awarded to a team/individual ‘that has made an outstanding contribution towards a more supportive, inclusive and collaborative research culture’. The committee of NIMSRN are all members of AIMS-RN.
The announcement of the Research Culture Prize can be viewed on the following link: