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Maeva Nyandjo: Paul Ehrlich Award
I hope that people will continue to learn from the research passions of others and use the new knowledge for the ultimate goal of using science and technology to ameliorate society's ills.
Mentor: Dolores Njoku
Our laboratory, led by Dr. Dolores Njoku, investigates why and how some drugs drive the immune system to injure its own liver tissues in certain susceptible populations.In prior studies, we demonstrated that IL-33-/- mice had lower regulatory T cell (Treg) numbers at two weeks post-immunization and showed poorer long-term survival. My project aimed to investigate if these findings were a result of the reduced ability for Tregs to control the inflammation after the acute phase due to the absence of IL-33, and what roles IL-33 had in tolerizing Tregs to drug haptens. We found that IL-33 was required for proper T-regulatory function and maturation in our model, which furthers our understanding of the interplay of different inflammatory cytokines involved in the immune reactions that result in drug-induced hepatitis.
Why did you choose Johns Hopkins for your work?
As medical students, we have protected time in the summer to pursue our research interests with a Hopkins researcher. During this time, I was able to contact Dr. Njoku, whose work combined my research interest in immunology and a clinical interest in anesthesiology.
What contributed to your project's success?
Especially for someone at my stage of training, I believe quality mentorship is extremely important. It is far too easy to unintentionally (or intentionally) discourage a student’s creativity or stifle their intellectual growth. Our laboratory is a creative, high-energy, high-output environment that provides a lot of room for exploring and trying new things.
What does receiving this award mean to you?
I feel tremendously honored to have received this award. I am encouraged to see that people see value and importance in our work and are informed by our findings. I hope that people will continue to learn from the research passions of others and use the new knowledge for the ultimate goal of using science and technology to ameliorate society’s ills.
What thoughts do you have about Young Investigators’ Day itself?
I greatly appreciate the effort to recognize the talents and hard work of burgeoning researchers that are excited about their field and imbued with a fire to pursue their passions but have less experience, minimal resources and fewer opportunities than those more established in their field.
What has been your best or most memorable experience while at Johns Hopkins?
I loved the Medical Student Research Symposium! It is a beautiful thing to learn from others and see how someone completely lights up as they tell you what they have discovered over a period of hard work, as well as discuss your own research from angles you have never considered before.
What are your plans over the next year or so?
I have begun my clerkship years and am looking forward to what the rest of my medical education has in store for me.
What are your hobbies or interests?
I like learning languages! I’m currently fluent in French and proficient in Spanish. I also completed an unofficial certificate study of Korean language but unfortunately have not had a lot of time to practice in the past couple of years. I hope to learn to speak Mandarin or Russian in the near future.