Studentship Awardee 2022: Helene Arnold

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

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

Best Experience:
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.

Why MS:
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.