This past summer, St. Mary’s College of Maryland biology majors Hannah Smith ’20 and Michael Timmer ’20 participated in the prestigious 12-week Summer Internship Program at the National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, and both have been invited back to their respective labs for 2019 summer program. Smith interned in the pediatric oncology branch and Timmer in the neuro-oncology branch.
During her internship, Smith researched and presented on the hematologic and neuro toxicity involved with pediatric oncology CAR T-cell therapy as a result of cytokine release syndrome (CRS).
According to Smith, “Under Dr. Nirali Shah, a clinical researcher, I handled patient data of children who had ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) and different kinds of lymphomas.”
Timmer explored the general health status of long-term survivors of central nervous system tumors, analyzing data on the survivors’ mobility, self-care, usual activities, pain/discomfort, and anxiety/depression (five dimensions). As a result of his research, he concluded that a majority of long-term survivors experience problems in at least one of the dimensions, meaning there should be more focus on patient heath following treatment.
“I worked with Dr. Terri Armstrong in the neuro-oncology branch and I am continuing my research with her this summer in hopes of creating a program that addresses how to overcome and cope with these limitations,” said Timmer.
Both Smith and Timmer completed a poster and presentation outlining their research following their internships.