Internships of U.S. medical students in our center
AnnaLisa Victoria Wilson, student of medicine at Meharry Medical College in Tennesee, U.S.A., spent 2 months of summer 2018 in FNUSA-ICRC. She was part of our Translational Neuroscience and Aging Program (TAP) research team and collaborated with TAP team members on research of using stem cells for treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. After her return to Meharry, Ms. Wilson prepared a poster for the poster section of the World Stem Cell Summit about one of the topics she was involved in during her stay in our center. Her poster won the Best Poster Award at the conference, held in Miami, Florida, on January 22–25, 2019.
Your poster titled Validation of an Axonal Injury Model by Scanning Electron Microscopy Imaging has been selected as the winner for the 2019 World Stem Cell Summit. Could you briefly explain, what have you dealt with?
The whole process was amazing. The TAP team, including my colleague Adam Evans, all helped to make the process not only successful in terms of presenting and winning the poster competition back in the US at the 2019 World Stem Cell Summit, but also helping me to understand the process of stem cell research.
On what kind of research did you cooperate during your stay in Brno?
I mainly was there to learn about how to grow, maintain, and manipulate stem cells. I am interested in organ regeneration so I wanted to get an idea of the source of the material used at this point in time for research in that field. I was able to do some data analysis for ongoing research on neuronal cell damage and observations of particular characteristics of neuronal stem cell damage.
Why did you choose to work in Brno?
I had happened to be part of a group of six medical students from Meharry Medical College that were chosen to shadow Mayo Clinic doctors over the spring break of 2018. Our first evening at Mayo Clinic during the welcome dinner, Dr. Geda was speaking to me about my interests in stem cells and stem cell research and asked me if I would like to spend a few months with a partner of Mayo overseas learning about stem cell and stem cell research. It was an incredible opportunity that I just could not pass up. I was going to be able to gain a foundation in stem cells from world class researchers.
What were your impressions of Brno, the people or your colleagues?
Brno was phenomenal. It was eight weeks so there was a lot of experiencing and less reflecting, but as I think about my time there it truly was a remarkable experience. I felt comfortable there even though I did not know much about the country or its history initially. I truly cherish the place and the people I got to meet. Everyone I interacted with was down to Earth and knowledgeable. The researchers I met and worked with were passionate about their work, and the way the teams interacted and provided feedback tat meetings to one another I felt made their research better and kept everyone in the loop with how things were progressing with the different research teams.
What have you studied there back home?
My undergraduate degree was in psychology from Santa Clara University, then I completed a Master´s degree in Public Administration at Notre Dame de Namur University. After that I chose medicine and am currently a third-year medical student at Meharry Medical College. I decided that I wanted to incorporate research into my future profession and become a physician scientist after watching a TedTalk video of Dr. Anthony Atala of Wake Forest University. He was talking about regenerative organs and the role of stem cells in that particular field. I was recently offered an amazing opportunity to participate in a 1-year research fellowship with Dr. Anthony Atala between my third and fourth year, so this process has been surreal to say the least.