Diana Akpoyibo
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This summer [2015], I was a research fellow at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, in NYC. It was a 10-week long biomedical research internship. As a part of my program, I worked in Dr. Yasmin L. Hurd's lab, a neuroscience lab that studies the neurobiology of addiction, and my project investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the heightened sensitivity to severe heroin overdose in individuals with a single nucleotide polymorphism (A118G) in their mu opioid receptor gene. I observed that G allele carriers have significantly increased levels of mu opioid receptor in the pre-Bötzinger complex, suggesting a greater respiratory effect of morphine overdose in these subjects, as well as that elevated MOR levels in the pre-Bötzinger complex could potentially be targeted in future therapeutic interventions to decrease overdose severity in human heroin abusers.

I submitted an abstract to present a poster at the Annual Biomedical Conference for Minority Scholars (ABRCMS) 2015. My abstract got accepted and I got to present my work in neuroscience. During my presentation, I was judged and scored based on some criteria, like the significance of my science and my presentation skills. On the last night of the conference, there was an award ceremony and the top presentors in each field were given awards for outstanding presentations, having received the highest points from the judges. I was priviledged to be selected as one of the top presentors. Here's a link to the website showing the awardees: http://www.abrcms.org/images/2015abrcms/FINAL%20AWARDEES%202015.pdf