Internship Spotlight: Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases

Current student Catarina Rahal da Gama Lobo Deca shared the following about being an intern at Ann Romney Center for Neurological Diseases at the Brigham Research Institute at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH)…

How did you find this internship?
I reached out to one of my family members in San Francisco who studies neuroscience and she suggested me to discover which my favorite specialty by experiencing different fields within Biology research. Following her advice, I came across Dr. Michael’s lab, currently working with neurological diseases. His lab focuses on how depression affects physiological functions in the human body, and how neurological diseases can impact immunology. I emailed him and demonstrated my interest not only im this field but in his research, we had a couple of meeting and he offered me the position of a Research Trainee during summer.

What did you enjoy most about your internship? 
Overall, my research internship at Brigham’s Woman’s Hospital has been a transformative experience that has enriched my understanding of biology and propelled my aspirations for a career in research and medicine. What I enjoyed the most about this internship was working alongside professionals from various backgrounds, including physicians, psychologists, and researchers, has underscored the importance of integrating diverse perspectives to tackle complex scientific questions comprehensively.

What did you find challenging?
Throughout my internship, I encountered numerous challenges that pushed me out of my comfort zone and demanded resilience and adaptability. One of the most significant hurdles was navigating the extensive scientific literature related to depression and anxiety. Initially, I found it overwhelming to assimilate vast amounts of information and discern relevant studies. However, by seeking guidance from my mentors and incorporating effective time management strategies, I gradually developed the skills necessary to critically analyze scientific papers and extract valuable insights. Additionally, working with live animals posed its own set of challenges. The responsibility of caring for these creatures and conducting experiments with precision required a high level of attention to detail and meticulousness.

What advice would you offer to someone who wants to make the most of an internship like yours?
Advice I would give to someone is understanding how to make your experience the most beneficial for you and for your work place. Take this an advantage to delve into the niches of your field and explore if this is an area you would like to work with in the future. I would also ask as many questions as possible and take every opportunity that is handed to you.

By Sheryl Rosenberg
Sheryl Rosenberg Associate Director