Boston Children’s Hospital, Loddenkemper Lab, Boston, MA
I had the opportunity this summer to work at Boston Children’s Hospital as a pediatric epilepsy research intern in the neurology department. I worked alongside a team of seven other interns and several other members of the Loddenkemper Lab such as the post-doctoral fellows and research assistants. The main mission of the lab’s research was to prevent, predict, detect and treat every seizure and status epilepticus in children before it occurs. Therefore, the current research studies being carried out in the Loddenkemper Lab focuses on understanding and utilizing seizure detection monitoring tools and devices that utilize various biomarkers, such as brain activity via EEG signals. Hopefully, by studying the role and effect of these devices, we can gain a better understanding of how these devices can help patients gain better control over seizures and improve their quality of life.
As an intern, I spent most of my time involved in two main projects: the Miku Project and Empatica Wristband Project. I worked on both the patient enrollment process and the optimization of the Redcap database, spending more time on the Redcap database, which contains information on each patient to create a method of automation when analyzing the data. With other interns, I worked on creating a standard nomenclature that would optimize the various EEG and Sync files, considering unique cases, such as when patients may have been enrolled into the study multiple times due to multiple admissions into the hospital.
I was also offered opportunities to shadow physicians, including my principal investigator, during clinic hours at the hospital. In following physicians through their patients, remote or in-person, it was interesting to witness the patient-physician interactions and the different cases presented by different patients, where one patient might be visiting for a second opinion whereas another patient might be undergoing pre-testing to potentially become a candidate for surgery.
This internship truly allowed me to gain an in-depth insight into the world of both medicine and clinical research. As a result, I have found myself better able to navigate software programs, such as Powerchart or Redcap. While I had prior wet lab experience, I had yet to experience a clinical research setting, and this summer I was able to learn and gain skills that are applicable to clinical research settings. I now have a stronger affirmation of my interests in a career in the medical field, specifically in pediatrics, and understand better how that interest can interweave with clinical research as a physician. Additionally, I can see how working as a research assistant during my gap year between undergraduate and medical school is a viable option that I am interested in pursuing.
I am extremely grateful for Sarah Cantley, who helped manage and guide me throughout my internship process, as well as Dr. Loddenkemper, who allowed for this internship opportunity to be possible. I would also like to thank the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for all their support in making this internship experience possible.