Student Information

Student Name

Ridwan Sharkar




Internship Information

Company/Organization: Columbia University

Mentor(s):Dr. Ed Laufer

Topic of Internship

Department of Pathology & Cell Biology

Background Information

Columbia University Medical Center’s Department of Pathology and Cell Biology dates back to the mid nineteenth century. It is located in the College of Physicians and Surgeons, which also includes Columbia University’s Medical School. The Department has had distinguished residency and fellowship programs since 1892 and teaching residents, medical students, and Ph.D students remains a top priority. The Department is home to more than 60 research faculty members, 100 postdoctoral fellows and 50 Ph.D. candidates. The faculty members have authored numerous textbooks and scientific papers. In 2012, the Department of Pathology ranked 5th among Pathology Departments in the United States. There are a broad range of research interests but focus is mainly given on neurodegenerative diseases, stem cell biology, and cancer biology.

Summary of Internship

During my time at Columbia University’s Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, I worked under Professor Ed Laufer, who is currently working primarily on stem cells. As an intern, I assisted with many routine laboratory procedures, including cryostat sectioning, immunohistochemistry, operating a cellSens epifluorescence microscope, gathering and analyzing collected data. My main project this year was to examine and analyze certain cell populations with the Shh (sonic hedgehog) gene. These genes, which were proven to be stem cells in previous experiments, are observed in the adrenal glands of several genetically modified mouse models in a process called lineage studies. The possibilities and applications from these studies are endless, making it a very exciting, groundbreaking topic. It has given me invaluable first-hand experience into how research is conducted and I am very grateful to be working so closely with scientists who are working at the forefront of biological research.

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