Biology Student Gets Hands-On Experience in a Lab at Internship

Saint Peter’s University Junior Class Vice President and Biochemistry Major Azuri Hughes ’20 participated in the 2018 Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP) summer internship program through the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The program exposes students to research in the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney (NIDDK) mission areas: diabetes, endocrinology, metabolism, nutrition, obesity and digestive, liver, urologic, kidney and hematologic diseases. The goal of the program is to ensure that each student intern understands the research process and participates in an original research project. STEP-UP is a component of the NIDDK Strategic Plan on Minority Health Disparities. The goals of the Strategic Plan are to reduce and eliminate health disparities, expand research education and training opportunities for underrepresented minority scientists and to provide information to racial and ethnic minority groups about treatment, prevention and self-management of disease.
Azuri worked and learned out of the lab of Nishanth Sunny, M.D., assistant professor at the University of Maryland – College Park. Over 10 weeks she researched the “Impact of Elevated BCAAs on Hepatic Insulin Signaling and Mitochondrial Function.” Azuri was involved in every step of research in Dr. Sunny’s lab from hypothesis generation through publication. She had the opportunity to articulate a hypothesis, collect or extract data, analyze the data, reach an appropriate conclusion and create a poster and an oral presentation summarizing her work.