Science students experienced a new ‘dimension’ when they participated in the Research Internship for National College Students at Weill Cornell Medicine–Qatar (WCM-Q). The three students are from Qatar University (QU) and took part in the intensive eight-week research internship course at WCM-Q.

The students completed practical training alongside courses on the basics of biomedical research management. This included modules on research operation, laboratory management, grants management, research integrity, clinical management, and professional skills. The students worked in WCM-Q laboratories which they chose based on their interests.

Raghad Al-Ishaq, a Biomedical Science student at QU, joined the laboratory of Dr Khaled Machaca, WCM-Q Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Physiology and Biophysics.

I interned in Dr Machaca’s lab where he is working on calcium signaling. The work we’ve been doing involves injecting certain proteins into the oocytes of frogs of the genus Xenopus, which will help with understanding the fertilisation processes. I’ve also done some work to understand the expression of a certain protein inside a cell, which has implications for cancer treatments.’

Al-Ishaq said she has been involved in a review article with Dr Dietrich Büsselberg about the health implications of vitamin D deficiency on the cardiovascular and renal systems. She said it was an amazing experience, and added that she wants to specialise in genetics in the future.

This is the first time that national college students were accepted for internship at WCM-Q, although the university has a well-established internship programme for both national high school students and college graduates with an interest in research.

Dr Machaca, oversees the introduction of the internship course, said that outreach programmes like these are offered and expanded because of their popularity, value, and importance to Qatar’s future knowledge-based economy.

He said that alongside conducting research, academic institutions have a duty and are committed to promoting training and outreach to increase research capacity and know-how within Qatar. Internships like these, according to him, complement the students’ education, and provide another layer of experience, enriching their understanding of research and ability to tackle and solve problems.

He said he was very pleased that all three interns proved themselves to be focused, inquisitive, and highly competent.

Check out this link for more information about the Research Internship for National College Students at WCM-Q.