News in Brief: Rising Senior Selected for Summer NIH Internship

MAY 22, 2014 – Human science major Joseph Brooks (NHS’15) has been selected for a summer internship at the National Institute of Mental Health.

He will be working with Judith Rapoport, MD, chief of the Child Psychiatry Branch within the NIMH, to study the genetics of childhood-onset schizophrenia. Also on the branch staff is nursing alumna Lorie Shora (G’08), MS, RN, FNP.

“I first heard about the internship through one of my professors during my sophomore year.” Brooks says.  “I decided to apply because I was looking for a summer internship, and it seemed like a great way to get more research experience.”

Laboratory Research

While at Georgetown, Brooks has been involved in laboratory research.  Most recently, he has been conducting research with Jan LaRocque, PhD, assistant professor of human science.

“We are studying how DNA double-strand breaks are repaired,” he said. “We use molecular and genetic techniques to model DNA damage response in Drosophila melanogaster [fruit flies].”

Along with LaRocque and two other undergraduates, Brooks authored the manuscript “Double-strand Break Repair Assays Determine Pathway Choice and Structure of Gene Conversion Events in Drosophila melanogaster,” which appeared in G3: Genes, Genomics, and Genetics.

New Experiences

Brooks is excited to use this opportunity as a way to gain news experiences.

“I'm most looking forward to experiencing everything that NIH has to offer,” he says. “There’s so much more than just the research itself, including the chance to shadow physicians and attend a variety of lectures and workshops.  I hope to gain research experience that will be valuable for the future, and I also hope to explore different fields that I haven't yet been exposed to.”

Future Plans

During his time at Georgetown, Brooks has been a member of the crew team and the Pre-Medical Society.  He has also served as a peer mentor.

“My time at Georgetown has been amazing,” he says.  “Being in DC affords you so many opportunities to get involved and pursue your interests no matter what they are.”

Upon graduation, Brooks plans to pursue a degree in medicine and possibly a master’s degree in public health.

By Jordin Parker (S’15)