Weekly Feature

2017-12-27 / Front Page

Clarence grad completes internship at Cleveland Clinic


Miller Miller What started as a keen interest in her high school science classes may well lead to a lucrative career in medicine for a 2014 graduate of Clarence High School.

Alexis Miller, now pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree at John Carroll University, completed an internship in cellular and molecular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. Miller will graduate from John Carroll in 2018.

The John Carroll University Cleveland Clinic Summer Research Program is a highly selective program that provides JCU students with the opportunity to explore their interest in biomedical research through a paid internship. The interns are sponsored by Cleveland Clinic researchers.

The JCU students work full time for 10 weeks during the summer, and many students continue to work part time in research labs during the academic year. Since its inception in 1999, more than 200 students have completed internships in more than 60 different research laboratories at the Cleveland Clinic.

Miller’s passion for science began as an advanced placement chemistry student at Clarence High School, and her interest was piqued when she realized the abundance of opportunities that awaited students at the university level to gain real world, hands-on experience.

Her wish was granted when she was accepted into the JCU Summer Research Program at Cleveland Clinic, consistently recognized among the top medical and research centers in the country.

Miller’s internship revolved around research and lab experience.

“Mostly, I worked under a graduate student who was getting his Ph.D.,” said Miller. “I helped him with his projects doing different types of experiments for him while I did an independent experiment in my free time.”

The research itself centered on the 25 pellino proteins that exist in the human body.

“His project looked at how they are produced so that we can better understand the mechanism of how they play a part in our diets and what their effects are,” Miller said.

Additionally, Miller assisted with a process called “western blotting,” a technique often used in molecular biology to detect specific proteins in a sample of tissue homogenate or extract.

“It’s a technique where you use antibodies to see what kinds of proteins exist in that blot. It’s a little hard to explain,” said Miller.

Now, following an internship in which she was exposed to some of the brightest minds in American medicine, Miller plans to take a gap year from school in order to get even more hands-on experience as a nursing aide.

If all goes according to plan, Miller is intent on applying to physician assistant school to further her education and training.

“I think the research aspect of science is overlooked, because I definitely didn’t have enough experience beforehand,” said Miller. “When you’re in school, learning about different types of medicine, you might not realize how they connect to different diseases. But when you’re doing research, you can really see how medicine has an effect on the body.”

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