Learning and lab: top three moments

This summer has flown by! I feel so incredibly blessed to be spending my summer in the Niewold Lab at Mayo Clinic. The time that I have spent in lab has confirmed my love for research, and playing with bioassays all day has specifically increased my interest in biological research. I find it absolutely fascinating that we can learn so much about cell signaling and responses just by using a collection of buffers, patient sera, a variety of reagents, and ...

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Not “highs and lows;” more “fasts and slows”

As I finish up the second month of research in the Rheumatology Department here at Mayo Clinic, I’ve come to get accustomed to the feeling and pattern of lab life. Coming into this research experience, I was not at all aware of what to expect in terms of work load, and every day I’d leave the lab with a different emotion.

I found myself antsy after days where I would simply be conducting literature searches and lab prep, and I also ...

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The patient behind the test tube: the true beauty of translational research

Hello everyone! My name is Anu Muppirala and I was given the wonderful opportunity to conduct lupus research at Mayo Clinic in the Rheumatology Department alongside Dr. Uma Thanarajasingam, M.D., Ph.D. She has been an absolute joy to work with so far, and I look forward to gaining a better understanding of lupus as I assist her in the fascinating research questions she is pursuing.

To provide a bit of background, systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is an autoimmune disease characterized by ...

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Introducing the project

Hi, everyone! I’m Emily Fellows, a Lupus Foundation of Minnesota Summer Fellow working in Dr. Timothy Niewold’s lab at the Mayo Clinic. First, I would like to thank the Lupus Foundation of Minnesota for providing me this amazing opportunity to not only learn more about systemic lupus erythematosus, but to contribute to the ongoing research efforts directed towards developing a better understanding of lupus, its treatments, and various diagnostic methods.

Dr. Niewold’s lab studies the pathogenesis of various autoimmune ...

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Settling into the lab

Hello! My name is Blair Stewig and I am fortunate to be conducting research under the supervision of Dr. Timothy Niewold and Dr. Theresa Wampler Muskardin at the Mayo Clinic this summer. As a Lupus Foundation of Minnesota Summer Fellow, I not only have the opportunity to learn a great deal in lab, but also a chance to experience what it is like to work on a project that could potentially improve the diagnosis and treatment of a ...

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From bed to bench and from bench to bed

The Lupus Foundation of Minnesota Fellowship was (no exaggeration) the most productive, meaningful, and inspirational experience I could have imagined my summer to be. Not only did I gain research experience and scientific communication skills, but I met peers, mentors, and patients who impacted my perspective on clinical and translational research.

Having the opportunity to interact with patients during my fellowship (with the courtesy of my PI, Dr. Erik Peterson) significantly and positively affected my fellowship experience. I am ...

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Confirming my future direction

Before the start of this fellowship, I was contemplating whether I wanted to go into medicine, research, or both. Upon talking to many mentors, I was leaning towards going into practicing medicine, but finding a way to also stay involved with research. However, although I have had a passion and interest in both for quite a while now, I wanted to experience more before I made the decision.

After the first several weeks of the fellowship under Dr. Peterson, I ...

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Channeling My Passion

I have had a passion for medicine and research since mid-high school. However, I was not sure about whether I would pursue one, the other, both, or the integration of the two as my future career.

At the start of my undergraduate career, I was set on trying to get into the M.D., Ph.D. program to integrate the two fields, as well as apply myself in both settings, as I always loved biology and medicine and had experience with clinical and ...

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Local lupus study recruiting participants

SLE is an autoimmune disease capable of causing severe tissue damage in many organs. The cause of SLE is unknown, but recent research has identified infection-fighting proteins called interferons (or IFNs) which are made and released by host cells in response to the presence of pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, parasites or tumor cells. IFNs allow for communication between cells to trigger the protective defenses of the immune system that eradicate pathogens or tumors.

In this ...

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Genes are “Interferin’ with lupus family business

It is common knowledge that lupus runs in families. In fact, primary relatives (siblings, parents, children) of a person with the condition have a three- to five-fold increased risk of developing the disease compared with the average person on the street. But until just the last decade, we haven’t known how increased risk of lupus could be inherited.

Figuring out how lupus runs in families has been complicated. Lupus is not like some genetic diseases carrying a high profile in the ...

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