Simran Sahansra ’21
Class of 2021, Major in Biology
I have been interning at New York University Langone Health Center’s Environmental Pediatrics Department to aid in their Children’s Health and Environment Study (CHES). This study is the initial part of the larger NIH-funded Environmental influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) study, which aims to shed light on how environmental exposures during early life can impact long-term child health outcomes.
The CHES portion that I intern for is the initial phase of this larger study in which biological specimens are collected across each trimester of pregnancy from all consenting pregnant women who visit NYU clinics. These samples are stored in a “biobank” for future research and analyses of environmental exposures and include maternal urine, blood, serum, placenta, cord blood and the newborn’s meconium. Additionally, pregnant women that consent to the study complete a series of detailed questionnaires about their diet, lifestyle and demographics.
I have been interning now for 8 weeks with CHES, and will continue through this summer. So far I can say that I have been provided with incredible hands-on experience in the lab, within obgyn clinics, the hospital and with research participants (the pregnant moms!). Furthermore, I have been able to aid fellow study members in consenting women into the study, gathering and processing biological specimens from research participants, and data input into a digital data storage system. I have also been able to process a few biological samples from both the clinic and the labor/delivery room: maternal urine, fetal urine, blood and placenta. I’m really excited to see my first live birth, whether it is a C-section or a vaginal delivery!
So far this experience has been amazing: I’ve had the unique experience of seeing how hospital life is day-to-day across different institutions: NYU Tisch, Bellevue and Lutheran Memorial hospitals. This varies between the clinic at each hospital and the labor and delivery room. I am also seeing the way that real-life human research is being done at this point in time. I really like that I’m getting a chance to enhance my lab skills by learning new techniques and strengthening my data input abilities, as everything needs to be meticulous when working with patient samples and protected patient information.