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Meet Sarah Nickles '19

Taking Biomedical Research from Boston to the National Stage

When Sarah Nickles was taking in Emmanuel's campus during a college tour, it was actually a building on the next block that gave her a glimpse into what would define her Emmanuel experience.

When my guide showed me how close we were to Boston Children's Hospital, it was a stars-aligning moment," she says. "I knew this was the right place for me.   

The neuroscience major had her first experience with the country's #1 children's hospital during her sophomore year, when she served as a trauma and injury prevention intern. There, she implemented a new initiative, installing child-safety equipment in local homeless shelters to reduce the number of annual trips to the emergency room.

On-campus, Sarah gained laboratory skills as a research assistant studying peripheral tissue inflammation in the Associate Professor of Biology Todd Williams' Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Lab lab. Equipped with technical skills, she expanded her research and clinical résumé, studying peripheral nerve regeneration and myelination in the Piao Lab at Harvard Medical School and the neurobiological mechanisms in Rett Syndrome at Boston Children's Hospital.

When I would tell my friends and family that I was interning at Harvard Medical and Boston Children's Hospital, they would 'ooh' and 'ahh,' but for me, that's what being a student at Emmanuel is.

Her love of biomedical research has grown, and after graduation, Sarah obtained a research position as a post-baccalaureate researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. There, she will study Fragile X Syndrome, a genetic condition that causes a range of developmental problems including learning disabilities and cognitive impairment.  

"I look forward to joining the industry of research and continuing to explore the human brain," she says.  She also aims to bridge the gap of bench research and health disparities to allow access to better and more affordable health care to minority populations worldwide. 

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