Return to Headlines

RPE Student Publishes Medical Research during Internship

Madeline Walters, a senior at Clinton High School, recently achieved an impressive career milestone for a scientist of any age as she became a published medical researcher during a Regional Program for Excellence (RPE) internship at the Masonic Medical Research Institute (MMRI).

Oneida-Herkimer-Madison BOCES RPE, which offers selected high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to explore career options through internships of 72-75 hours, placed Walters with Dr. Zhiqiang Lin, Assistant Professor/Gene Therapy Core Manager at MMRI, for the fall/winter 2020 semester. Walters’ interest in biological research was a perfect fit with Dr. Lin, who is currently researching how heart and brown adipose tissues grow during normal developmental phases and different disease conditions.

RPE and MMRI provided Walters with a hands-on opportunity to test out a career field she is hoping to pursue after graduation, allowing her to shadow scientists and learn fundamental laboratory research skills. “It was really helpful to learn how professionals find information about their own research and enhance my understanding of lab processes,” said Walters.

Walters is also now able to share the knowledge she gained with other scientists, researchers and physicians as she is one of the publishing authors of the article “Both proliferation and lipogenesis of brown adipocytes contribute to postnatal brown adipose tissue growth in mice” in “Scientific Reports.” While the topic may sound confusing to those outside the medical community, it has the potential to benefit the general population in a major way. The research done by Dr. Lin, his team and now Walters, serves as a critical step for cardiac regenerative medicine, aiming to mitigate the disease progression of heart failure and obesity, and potentially lead to the development of new drugs to treat obesity.