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First-Hand Discovery

Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science Summer Research Program spurs collaboration and applied research.

The College of Science and Health congratulates the 2023 cohort of the Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science biomedical research program! Six DePaul University undergraduate students collaborated with faculty members and their research teams at the university's North Chicago campus this summer, supporting cutting edge discovery in disciplines from virology to neuroscience.  

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“The experience opened a gateway into the realm of healthcare and helped me internalize my academic and career goals as a future physician" shared 2022 participant Hibah Ghazal (Health Sciences). Ghazal interned at the clinical immunology laboratory at RFUMS, conducting specialized blood tests and assays on samples from patients experiencing recurrent pregnancy loss. This led to a research project centered on genotyping the blood of those patients. “I received DNA samples from recruited patients at the Reproductive Medicine and Immunology Center that are being treated by Dr. Kwak-Kim, an Ob/Gyn Physician and RFUMS professor, for pregnancy and implantation failure. I genotyped the patients by performing Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) and gel electrophoresis" explains Ghazal. PCR involves making copies of a specific DNA sample to enable detailed study, while gel electrophoresis is a common method used to separate out DNA, RNA, and other proteins based on their size. This type of granular analysis permitted Ghazal to look at cell and receptor functions for a particular gene known as KLRC2 and identify the presence of mutations in collected samples. During the project Ghazal collaborated with stakeholders throughout the lab, from physicians and PhD researchers to medical students.

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Alina Huang (Health Sciences) likewise had a stimulating experience in the program, collaborating on a project with the Resuscitation Institute at RFUMS to examine oxygen consumption in human embryonic kidney cells. The objective was to investigate the effects of an inhibiting compound on the cells' metabolism of oxygen, particularly whether treated cells would consume less oxygen than those that were not inhibited. “The most positive or rewarding aspect of my summer research experience was the final compilation and statistical analysis of all our lab data. While the experiments were being conducted, it was hard to visualize a trend in our data. Once we had numbers, tables, and figures, the overall application of our work became clearly apparent" states Huang. The program introduces students to applied research experiences they typically would not encounter until graduate or medical school. “This experience has given me a lot more hands-on experience with research, especially with my project's stronger healthcare/clinical connections…I found myself comfortable yet motivated in the extended lab setting, which makes me excited to pursue more research opportunities in the future" says Huang.

The Office of Advising and Student Services accepts applications for the program every Winter (deadline January 20). Interested students who have met program requirements and are enrolled in College of Science and Health majors can learn more about the program here.