Thanh Nguyen ’17 has used the self-design program at Green Mountain College to combine her interests in biology and psychology into one cohesive major. Over the summer she received some amazing practical experience through an internship with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Thanh was in Rochester from July 1 through August 31, working on a pair of projects at the Mayo Clinic’s Translational Neuroscience Laboratory in the Department of Psychiatry and Psychology. She authored a paper exploring the relationship between insulin dysfunction and mood disorder.
“The training that I got in the GMC science program, particularly from the biology and psychology faculty, was incredibly helpful in my ability to integrate scientific facts from different fields to craft the paper,” she said. “Natalie Coe is a great professor, mentor, and advisor. She has influenced me so much, especially in my passion for science.”
While in Rochester Thanh also researched the expression of certain proteins in a brain area implicated in mood disorders after deep-brain stimulation. This is a promising therapeutic technique for treatment-resistant depression. She credits GMC lab technician Carol Shaw for giving her the research skills to complete her work independently in just eight weeks. “Carol taught me the basics of accuracy, attention to detail and troubleshooting in the lab.”
Thanh is interested in pursuing a research career in molecular medicine or neuroscience, and is preparing her applications to top Ph.D. programs.
“I’m interested in the biological basis of mental processes,” she said. “My goal is to pursue a research career in translational psychiatry, a field where you apply basic sciences to real life by ‘translating’ what we know into practice.”