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Center for Experiential Learning

Three Loyola Seniors Win NIH Research Award

This spring, three Loyola undergraduate researchers won the prestigious Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  All three are now beginning their postbaccalaureate careers conducting full-time research at the NIH with some of the leading scientists in the world.


David Collins, a former Biology Research Fellow who worked with Dr. William Rochlin at Loyola, will begin an IRTA in the laboratory of Dr. Chris J. McBain at the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development (NICHD), studying interneurons in the hippocampus.

“I had a Biology Research Fellowship from the end of my sophomore year until graduation, working in Dr. Rochlin's lab. It was great that the program let me lead my own project. Dr. Rochlin was there to help whenever I needed it, but a lot of what I did was independent. Working this way forced me to learn a lot about the rationale behind experiments rather than just the procedural stuff, which definitely helped when Principal Investigators at the NIH were interviewing me. LUROP also gave me the funding to present at an international conference, which was a huge learning experience, and the Fellowship Office helped me put my whole application together. I definitely owe my successful application to these offices. Any student interested in a research-based career should get in touch with them right away.  I'm hoping that my time at the NIH will help me learn new techniques and grow as a scientist.”


Derek Thayer will begin his IRTA in the fall in the laboratory of Dr. Anu Puri at the National Cancer Institute, researching lipid-based nanoparticles and the mechanisms of viral entry into cells.

“The path to a NIH Fellowship begins the moment you decide to put your academic success first.  I made use of Loyola’s many academic resources such as the Tutoring Center and Digital Media Lab to reach the goals I set for myself.  Additionally, I experienced as many things as I could during my Loyola career.  I worked as an emergency room technician for a year, (after taking the EMT-B certification course at Loyola), and vastly grew from that experience.  I then decided I wanted to get exposure to research, and subsequently worked with professors in the Biochemistry and Physics departments to see first-hand what doing research is like.  My advice, and the real key to my success, is to consider trying new and different things to discover more about yourself and increase your skill set.  And Loyola provides many opportunities to do just that.”


Danish Ghazali, a former Biology Summer Research Fellow and Mulcahy Scholar who worked with Dr. Jeffrey Doering at Loyola, will begin his IRTA after spring graduation in the laboratory of Dr. Bibiana Bielekova at the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke (NINDS).

Quote forthcoming


If you are a Loyola student interested applying to conduct research at the NIH, please note that the Loyola Fellowship Office offers an information session annually in November on applying successfully to the IRTA and to the NIH Summer Internship Program.  Please contact the Fellowship Office and they will be happy to help you.


Loyola Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program

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Loyola University Chicago · 1032 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago, IL 60660
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Phone: 773.508.3366 · Fax: 773.508.3955 · E-mail: experiential@luc.edu

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