Current school and grade
Currently a junior at Jerome High School, I have a distinct vision and objectives about my plans for advanced education, research and a career path. Following graduation from Jerome High School, I plan to seek undergraduate and graduate education in biology and biomedical sciences to earn MD, PhD Degree. I am determined and principled to pursue a career of physician scientist. I strongly believe that the NIH Summer Internship Program in Biomedical Research prepares and helps me a great deal in my future pursuits and endeavours.
My exposure to biomedical sciences started early in life when professionals including my parents and teachers recognized my sleep deprivation and advised me to drastically cut television time and to sleep longer hours so I could reach my maximum potential in school. The advise worked like a charm, Intrigued by the validity of their advice, I began to research the existing state of knowledge on the relationship between adequate sleep and human performance. My research experiences, though elementary, suggested that the general scope of available literature is woefully inadequate for children of my age group.
Research publications and public informational dossiers from the American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) did not provide sufficient answers to quell my curious questions. Therefore, I designed an observational study to understand the relationship between the hours of sleep and the school performance in the sixth graders. I consulted research experts in areas of compliance with code of federal regulations (CFR) and the local school district policies for informed consent forms and behavioral research. I gathered data from 530 sixth graders of the Chino Valley Unified School Districts (CVUSD) and performed descriptive statistical analysis. The research found a linear relationship between the school grades and sleep up to 8 hours. I shared my research findings with my fellow students, teachers and in the School Science Fair. Three of the forty science projects from our school were selected for presentation at the district level. Subsequently, the CVUSD selected ten of one hundred and twenty projects for presentation at the county level. From the county level, twelve projects including mine were advanced for presentation at the California State Science Fair (http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2010/Projects/J0319.pdf ).
My first foray into biology and human research fueled my young mind with deep interest, eagerness and love for research. I am currently working on a multi-centre cross-sectional survey study to determine the prevalence of rheumatic heart disease (RHD) in children from private and public schools in urban and rural areas of Pakistan using cardiac auscultation and echocardiographic evaluation. Children will also be evaluated for malnutrition using anthropometric criteria described by WHO growth reference standards for school-aged children and adolescents (Onis, 2007). Nutritional status will be compared with the presence or absence of RHD to discern the interactions. A blood sample will be collected from a subset of subjects to study genetic variants that are causative for cardiac-valvular lesions by analysis of gene expression alterations using a combination of next-generation sequencing technologies, transcriptomics, and expressed quantitative trait loci (eQTL). I have a strong support group help with this project. Led by a pediatric cardiologist as the principal investigator, the study team will include dieticians, echocardiographers and a biostatistician. I was offered collaboration with Dr. Danny Jochen, M.D from Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School and I will work on the gene expression analysis. As the primary author of the protocol and case report forms, I expect to complete the documents to be sent to the Principal Investigator for submission to the ethics committee approval in second quarter of 2015. Prior to my engagement in the above translational research, I believe that a student internship at NIH will greatly increase my knowledge on the optimal processes and executions in translation research. I would like pursue research opportunities in cardiovascular disease, malnutrition, and genetics during my internship at NIH. I am also intrigued and interested in the application of health IT and interoperability in the field of medicine and research, both in data sharing for cost effective disease management and bioinformatics data mining of Big Data for retrospective analysis to improve healthcare and lives. I am certain to be benefitted from multidisciplinary experts at the NIH.
I sincerely hope that I succeeded in conveying that throughout my secondary and high school years, I explored research areas of my interest in life sciences, medicine and translation research. Data has always intrigued my scientific curiosity. I am seeking to attain a broadened knowledge and experience in diverse biomedical and allied fields from the NIH Summer Internship Program and gain clarity on the path to a career in the life sciences research. My research experiences are depictions of my career aspirations.
In conclusion, I am certain that interning at NIH will be an invaluable opportunity and experience for me and I will greatly benefit from it in the future. I also believe that my credentials strongly support my candidacy. My sincere thanks for reading my cover letter and I look forward to further discussion. Please do not hesitate contact me by calling xxxxxxx or email xxxxx if you have any concerns or questions.