Washington, PA (March 23, 2021) — Eight Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) students have been selected to receive stipends from W&J’s Merck Internships for Excellence in Science program to support off-campus biomedical research internships in Summer 2021.
The program, which began with a gift to W&J from the Merck biopharmaceutical company’s Merck Institute for Science Education in 2007, is a competitive award that supports W&J students in their pursuit of biomedical research internships. Applications are open to W&J students who have this interest and who meet the qualifications, regardless of major. Since 2008, 62 W&J students (known as Merck Scholars) have conducted biomedical research internships at world-class institutions both domestically and abroad.
The 2021 Merck Scholars are:
Samuel Dauby (Neuroscience ’22) will intern in the Department of Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Samuel’s research will focus on determining the distribution of medium spiny neurons in the striatum region of the human brain.
Nagendra Dhanikonda (Biology ’23) will intern in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of California San Francisco in San Francisco, California. Nagendra’s research will focus on the effects of biological age and radiation-induced inflammation on breast cancer and the immune system.
Rachel Karman (Biology ’23) will intern in the Department of Oncological Sciences at the Huntsman Cancer Institute of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. Rachel’s research will focus on using a zebrafish model system to characterize mutations associated with human pediatric brain tumors.
Alex Keith (Biology ’22) will intern at the Pain Diagnostics and Interventional Care Center in Sewickley, Pennsylvania. Alex’s research will focus on characterizing surgical site infections in patients who received spinal cord stimulation devices for control of chronic pain.
Sarah Marshall (Neuroscience ’23) will intern in the Department of Psychology at the University of Delaware in Newark, Delaware. Sarah’s research will focus on determining the effects of mindfulness meditation on cognitive thought processing in children with autism.
Dylan Mayanja (Chemistry ’23) will intern in the Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California. Dylan’s research will focus on determining sex differences in immune responses to injury and chronic pain.
Ryyan Miah (Biochemistry ’23) will intern at the West Virginia Cancer Institute of the WVU Health Sciences Center in Morgantown, West Virginia. Ryyan’s research will focus on evaluating potential drugs to treat brain tumors resulting from metastasis of breast cancer.
Evan Sante (Biochemistry ’23) will intern in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Evan’s research will focus on identifying cells that express fibroblast growth factor-21 in the muscles of persons with Duchene muscular dystrophy.
The Merck Selection Committee consists of Dr. Candy DeBerry (Biology, Merck program administrator and committee chair), Dr. Ron Bayline (Biology), Dr. Sara Chamberlin (Physics), Dr. Mark Harris (Chemistry), Dr. Alice Lee (Biology), and Dr. Kelly Lohr (Biology).
For more information about research internships by Merck Scholars and other W&J science students, visit the or contact Dr. DeBerry.
About W&J’s Merck Internships for Excellence in Science program
Initiated in 2008 through funding from the Merck Institute for Science Education, the program is designed to support W&J students in their efforts to land prestigious research internships in the sciences. Internship fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis, giving science faculty the flexibility to match the most exciting research opportunities with the most qualified students.
About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit , or call 888-W-AND-JAY.