Student Information

Student Name

Phillip Lee




Internship Information

Company/Organization: Columbia University : Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center

Mentor(s):Dr. Anne-Marie Brillantes

Topic of Internship

Diabetes Research

Background Information

Just a few short years ago, access to comprehensive, multidisciplinary diabetes care was not available in New York -- a city that prides itself for providing the best medical care in the world. Now, thanks to the generous contributions of Russ Berrie, founder of Russ Berrie and Company, Inc., and others, a new standard of diabetes care is available to the 1.6 million people with diabetes in the New York area. The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center, named after Russ Berrie's mother who, like her son, had diabetes, was established in July 1997 under the direction of Dr. Robin Goland, Associate Professor of Medicine at Columbia University. It opened in its permanent space at the Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion at Columbia University Medical Center in October 1998. The Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center, combining unprecedented family-oriented patient care and education with world-class diabetes research programs, has been named one of three "Diabetes Centers of Excellence" in New York State. (Credit: Columbia University - Naomi Diabetes Center)

Summary of Internship

Through the Senior Experience program, I was given an enormous opportunity to engage in diabetes research at the Columbia University Medical Center. By working in an independent yet intense laboratory, I was able to become accustomed to the various equipments (computer, florescent microscope, PCR, etc) and subjects (mice) used in diabetes research. Currently, my mentor's research is on the role genetic variations play in differing vulnerabilities to developing autoimmune diabetes. My primary task in the laboratory was to analyze and compare beta cell mass and the rates of beta cell replication among various types of mice strains. To do this, I needed to work simultaneously with a computer program called "Image Pro" and a microscope which took pictures of the pancreas. Throughout the course of my internship, I was also able to attend weekly conferences where doctors and researchers collaborated in discussing recent findings or issues regarding a particular area. Through this internship, I experienced a medical research in a professional laboratory setting. In addition, I gained an appreciation for the health sciences and a better understanding of how a world class research university operates.

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