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Following a Call to Clinical Research


Gabe Linden ’20 came to Hamilton intending to prepare to go into a medical field. Hamilton connections and an internship steered him toward an interest in clinical research. He recently accepted a job as a clincial research assistant at Boston Children’s Hospital.

What will your job involve?

Beginning this summer, I’ll be a clinical research assistant I for the spine division at Boston Children’s Hospital. My job will include recruiting and consenting patients into studies, preparing documentation and submissions with the principal investigator and other members of the research team, and assisting in writing articles and summary papers for publications.

What did the interview process entail?

Last summer I used my connections at Hamilton to line up an informational interview with an orthopaedic surgeon at Boston Children’s. I asked questions pertaining to pediatric medicine, orthopaedics, research, and what it was like to work there. After the conversation, I was even more interested in a job at BCH, so I reached back out to the doctor in the fall and he connected me to the research manager. In January, the research manager requested my resume, and we scheduled a phone interview. After that, I was invited to Boston for an interview, which took place at the beginning of March, and then eventually was offered the position. I am grateful for the timing of my interview process, because my in-person interview was only one week before COVID-19 started to impact the U.S.

Did you enroll at Hamilton intending to go into the medical field?

I’ve always intended on becoming a physician, but I am unsure of what type of medicine I’d like to practice. I enjoy working with children, so I’m excited to learn more about pediatric medicine during my time at Boston Children’s.

Have any mentors or faculty at Hamilton helped or influenced you in your career path?

Leslie Bell has been an amazing mentor and pre-professional advisor throughout my Hamilton career. She helped me realize the benefit of taking time off between Hamilton and medical school. Likewise, [Professor of Biology] Wei-Jen Chang, my thesis advisor, has been a strong supporter of my career path.

About Gabe Linden ’20

Major: Biology

Hometown: Madison, N.Y.

High school: Madison Central School

read about other members of the class of 2020 
Did you have other research opportunities that influenced you?

I first delved into research during my sophomore spring with [former] Professor Simon Coppard. Our research was focused on sea urchin venom, which has a high potential for the drug synthesis. I enjoyed the experience (except getting stung by the urchins), and it encouraged me to pursue more research. Last summer, I used my Hamilton connections and Career Center summer internship funding to work as a clinical research intern in the orthopaedics department at the Lahey Hospital & Medical Center in Burlington, Mass. This clarified my desire to work in clinical research rather than basic research, and it also stimulated my interest in orthopaedic research.

I’ve been working with Professor Chang since August on my senior thesis project, which is investigating the relationship between diet and growth in a model organism for human health. I’ve enjoyed my project; however, my thesis confirmed my interest to work in a clinical setting with people as research subjects rather than small organisms.

What are you looking forward to at your new job?

Talking and interacting with patients, working daily with some of the finest pediatric surgeons in the nation, contributing my thoughts and skills to research development with the spine team, coordinating research studies, learning more about a career as a pediatric physician, and expanding my network deeper into the medical field.

What are your long-term plans?

I plan to hopefully begin medical school during the summer of 2022.

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