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Biology student lands two-year fellowship with the National Institutes of Health

  • By: Meredith Sell
  • Published:
Rachel VanTries

Rachel VanTries, a senior biology student from Indianapolis, has landed a two-year fellowship in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) program.

VanTries will be working under Raphaela Goldbach-Mansky, MD, MHS, conducting clinical lab research on rare auto-inflammatory diseases occurring in children, including CANDLE and SAVI which typically start exhibiting in early infancy.

Goldbach-Mansky is a Principal Investigator in the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. According to the National Institutes of Health website, she leads the institute’s auto-inflammatory disease clinic and has built a research program focused on “children with early onset autoinflammatory (sic) diseases.”

Golbach-Manskey was one of three Principal Investigators that VanTries emailed after applying to the program. VanTries cited projects done in Assistant Professor of Biology Dr. Jessica Vanderploeg’s Developmental Biology and Research Methods classes as especially helpful in gaining the position.

“A lot of the stuff I sent to the NIH, during my interviewing and application process, was [what] I’d done in her class just last semester,” VanTries said.

VanTries will start her fellowship in Bethesda, Maryland, in late May or early June, after graduation. She plans to pursue admittance to medical school during her fellowship, fulfilling a requirement of the program and taking her one step closer to her lifelong ambition of being a doctor.

“Rachel takes initiative,” said Vanderploeg. “She figures out what she needs to do to succeed, and she makes sure she does what she can to do that.”