Wabash Blogs Summers in Science

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Steven Rhodes: Collaboration at the National Institutes of Health

Steven Rhodes, Washington, D.C. — This summer, I am working in the Laboratory of Membrane Biochemistry and Biophysics at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) / National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Bethesda, Maryland.

I am performing Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) studies of proteins and their interactions with biomembranes. This technique uses high magnetic fields to elucidate the physical, chemical, and structural properties of molecules. My goal for this summer is to study the interactions of the human peripheral cannabinoid receptor protein (CB2) within artificial biomembranes of controlled composition.

Working in a national laboratory has been very exciting for me. The atmosphere is quite different from academia, where graduate students pursue independent projects and set their own goals/objectives. Here, doctors and researchers work as cohesive units to tackle problems on all fronts. This feeling of being part of a larger team has been one of the greatest aspects of my summer experience. Living in the Washington, D.C. area is nice too!

After graduating from Wabash, I hope to enroll in medical school and begin working toward an M.D./Ph.D. dual degree, which combines my interests in research with the practice of medicine. Working at the NIH/NIAAA this summer has been a wonderful opportunity for me to participate in cutting edge research in an environment which is truly at the interface of laboratory science and clinical medicine.

I would especially like to thank Dr. Scott Feller for making this experience possible for me. I feel very lucky to have had the chance to play a small part in the greater collaborative effort here.

In photo: Rhodes next to an 800 MHz NMR Spectrometer.