On August 8, 28 students from the 2013 NEI Summer Internship Program participated in the NIH Summer Research Program Poster Day. They explained their posters, what they did, and how it was accomplished.
Elizabeth Yuen is a junior at San Francisco State University in California and worked in the Laboratory of Immunology, Immunoregulation Section. Her mentors were Drs. Carlos Zarate-Blades and Reiko Horai Yamane and supervised by Dr. Rachel Caspi.
She applied for an internship at NEI after reading about Dr. Caspi’s research in uveitis. The disease interested her not only because she aspires to become a pediatric rheumatologist, but also because she was diagnosed with systemic lupus at the age of nine. As a result, she began attending events hosted by the Arthritis Foundation, leading her to grow up and become friends with other young children with arthritis and related diseases, such as lupus or uveitis.
In the lab, Elizabeth investigated the relationship between intestinal bacteria and uveitis by testing for T-cells that may be involved in uveitis in intestines. This is important because uveitis accounts for about 15% of blindness in the United States. Determining a link between microbiota in the gut and uveitis can help scientists to better understand the disease and ultimately create more effective treatments and possible cures for the disease.
Elizabeth added, “I really enjoyed the people I met here. Everyone is nice and extremely intelligent! They also were very helpful and gave me the biggest push I have ever had, to work harder and learn more.”