5Q: Noah Warner, Caravan Lab intern, Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital
Second-year Bachelor of Science student Noah Warner is from Yarmouth, NS and majoring in physics.
1. What is your summer internship?
This summer I am an intern in Dr. Peter Caravan’s lab within the Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I am working on a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) study which involves testing a new drug and its effectiveness in treating liver fibrosis. This is an important field in research, as some patients with fibrosis, while exhibiting no symptoms, can advance to cirrhosis and eventually cancer of the liver. The current methods to detect fibrosis include invasive procedures such as biopsies and these methods have their limitations. By finding new ways to diagnose and treat liver fibrosis, there are better chances of detection before advanced stages develop.
Through my internship, I am learning to physically operate an MRI scanner and to understand the images it forms, which is the data for the study. Other aspects include using software to analyze this data which is a useful skill to learn early in my degree.
2. Why physics?
I have always been interested in the medical field but my high school physics teacher, Robyn McKenzie, helped me realize my interest in physics as well. Participating in research like this allows me to combine my interests in both fields into something that will be beneficial to patients in the future. It has been eye-opening to see the amount of work that goes into the research process; I can definitely say this is a career path I am considering.
3. Best thing about summer on location for your internship?
The best thing about being in Boston for the summer, besides the learning experience, is the number of things to do during my time off. Lab work doesn’t have a specific schedule, so many evenings are spent working, but on weekends I am free to look around the city (in the ‘feels like temperature’ of 40°C+) visiting historical sites, museums and attending Red Sox games to get the full Boston experience.
4. What are you involved in on campus?
At MtA, I volunteer regularly at the Marshview Middle School breakfast program with the Rotaract club, and I will be the assistant don of Bigelow House beginning in September. I am also planning on joining the Physics Society in September.
5. What’s one piece of advice you would give to your first-year self?
Some advice for any first-year student would be: if you are interested in doing an internship or research, take the initiative to ask about potential opportunities. This is how I landed my position in Boston. Dr. Caravan was supposed to be a guest lecturer at MtA but was unable to make it due to the weather. After reading some of his published papers to get a sense of his research, I reached out to him and asked if he took interns… and from there we began making plans about my internship.