Summer Centered: Eva Shin '24 Focuses on Clinical Neuroscience Research
The biology major is working this summer as a clinical researcher at the Lurie Center for Autism, where she’s researching Williams Syndrome.
This summer, Eva Shin ‘24 is gaining experience in a clinical lab setting. The biology major, who is also minoring in neuroscience and environmental studies, is working as a clinical research intern at the Lurie Center for Autism, part of Massachusetts General Hospital. Her work was made possible by the Center for Career and Professional Advising’s Gertrude Albert Heller Memorial Grant.
Shin’s primary research area is Williams Syndrome, a rare, neurodevelopmental, genetic disorder, which is caused by the spontaneous deletion of 26 to 28 genes from the seventh chromosome at conception. It can cause poor growth in children, cardiovascular or endocrine abnormalities, and cognitive development delays. The disorder has also been linked to increased anxiety.
“I’m helping with data entry for two projects that aim to understand and treat anxiety in this population,'' she said. “The other project I’m working on is about racial and ethnic representation in studies related to Williams Syndrome. It involves doing a literature search and analyzing demographic data.”
In addition to research, Shin is also shadowing the physicians, psychologists, and social workers at the Lurie Center, while attending seminars relating to autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disorders. She noted that the opportunity to learn from experts while meeting patients has been deeply impactful, as she is interested in a career in clinical research.
Shin has also enjoyed being able to apply her coursework, particularly her biology and neuroscience classes, to a professional setting.
“I’ve learned a lot about research on the way the brain is affected, and got to take a field trip to a nearby neuroimaging center,” she said. “I was also pleasantly surprised to find that there is some overlap with my interest in environmental studies, when I heard a talk from a scientist doing research on the effects of pollution in mother mice.”
Working with and learning from her five undergraduate research partners, as well as the psychiatrist and clinical research coordinator who are serving as mentors, has been the high point of the internship.
“I’ve also had access to many other staff at the Center who have been very welcoming and willing to teach about their work,” she said. “My hope has been to learn what work they are passionate about, how they came to find it, and how to conduct meaningful research.”
Shin is considering attending graduate school to study neuroscience. She is certain, however, that she wants to pursue a career focused on helping people, particularly children.
“Shadowing many visits where the patients were kids was a great way to get experience. No matter what I do, I want to be helping people in some way and this was a great introduction to that,” she concluded.
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ campus-supported summer work.