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Finding a Niche: A Journey in Medical Research


Two years ago, Gregorio Miceli ’20, participated in an eight-week cardiac research laboratory at the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory in Utica, N.Y. At only 17-years-old, Miceli had never before experienced a full time research position. Quickly, he became aware that the studying practices which were sufficient in high school were not going to cut it at the lab. “No study materials were given, and I had to search for literature, develop my own ideas, and learn from experience. The first few days were not without their challenges,” said Miceli.

Through his time at the lab, Miceli became convinced of his interest in medicine, though he was still unsure of which specific area of research he wanted to pursue. Being affected with Crohn’s Disease, Miceli wanted to learn more about his condition and soon developed a strong interest in digestive diseases.

After reading a good deal of scientific literature dealing with the pathophysiology of the gastrointestinal tract, Miceli found that he was most interested in the digestive studies conducted by the Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Digestive Diseases, at Yale University. So, last November, he contacted the authors to express his interest in their work and curiosity about their upcoming projects.                                                   

Gregorio Miceli ’20

Concentration: Biochemistry/Molecular Biology

Hometown: Spilinga (VV), Italy

High School: Liceo Scientifico “Giuseppe Berto”

read more student internship stories

As an intern under Gladys Phillips Crofoot Professor of Medicine (Digestive Diseases) and Professor of Cell Biology Michael Harris Nathanson, Miceli now works in the Yale liver center, studying models of cystic fibrosis in mice. The primary aim of the study is to understand the mechanisms of pathogenesis of cystic and fibro-polycystic liver diseases and find more effective therapies for those inherited diseases.

For Miceli, the most interesting part his work is studying the effects of bone marrow transplanted cells on mice with reduced levels of fibrocystin, a form of protein deficiency which leads to cyst formation, inflammation and fibrosis. The team found that after the transplantation of bone marrow to the lethally deficient mice, the inflammation, fibrosis and cyst formation were significantly reduced. These results may open new venues in the cure of congenital hepatic fibrosis (CHF) and Caroli Disease (CD).

 “I aspire to improve the world and enhance our way of living,” said Miceli. And though he is not sure exactly what field of medicine he will pursue, Miceli is grateful for the opportunity to explore any area of scientific research. “I am in the information-gathering phase about my career, and the answers for me are at Yale,” he said.

 

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