August 25, 2017
Recent Public Health Sciences alumna Niamh Mulrooney ’17 has received an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Research Fellowship to work at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
ORISE connects the most talented and diverse students, recent graduates, faculty and educators to programs closely aligned with the interests of a variety of research facilities, including those managed for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and more than a dozen other federal agencies. It administers a broad range of internships, fellowships, and research experiences available primarily to those pursuing science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines, including undergraduate and graduate students, recent graduates, postdocs, and university faculty members. Programs are offered at DOE national laboratories and other federal agencies with research facilities located across the country as well as some locations outside the United States.
Mulrooney’s fellowship will provide her with a variety of experiences as she rotates through NIAID’s various research divisions, beginning with the Division of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases and continuing on to the Division of Clinical Research, Vaccine Research Center, the Division of Intramural Research, the Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Transplantation and the Division of AIDS. She also may have the opportunity to explore external agencies outside of NIH in her rotations.
“All of my rotations will sit under the umbrella of infectious diseases and global health,” Mulrooney says, “but specifically on bioinformatics and data science and how multidisciplinary areas of research attempt to solve the world's most pressing global health challenges. I have been paired with wonderful designated mentors and work with a smart and supportive team here at NIH. During my fellowship I will eventually be working on an individual, independent project that brings together the goals of the program and my own specific interests.”
She adds, “I have always been passionate about global health, and I have to pinch myself when I walk in the doors at NIAID each morning because I'm at the forefront of this rapidly expanding field. I would absolutely not be in this position without the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. Each and every day, through peers, professors and advisers, I felt inspired by the Public Health Sciences program to identify the synergy between science and people, and to grow as a student, scientist and human. I am so grateful to have been a part of this unique and dynamic community for four life-changing years.”
Mulrooney plans to eventually enroll in a dual degree MD/MPH program, after which she intends on practicing family medicine or specializing in pediatric infectious diseases, tying together her love of public health and clinical application.
“The NIH ORISE Research Fellowship will not only provide me with an essential professional and scientific network and skill-set for the road ahead, but also a deeper understanding of the current progress, successes and challenges of the global health field,” she says. “As a fellow, I am already gaining insight into the important role of federal agencies on research developments that improve the health of people across the world. Most importantly, I have the opportunity to talk to a variety of fascinating professionals at NIH and NIAID through informational interviews and learn about their unique journeys, which has great value in deciding the career path I want to take.”