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Jeffrey Nadel ’12

Post-baccalaureate IRTA (Intramural Research Training Award) Fellow at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Neuroscience Major
Latin American Studies and Chemistry Minors

"The IRTA Fellowship grants one- to two-year research training awards to fellows in one of the NIH's 27 institutes and centers. My fellowship is in the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). I am also working on an independent, collaborative health policy research project with a mentor at The Brookings Institution, since my ultimate goal is to work on improving access and quality of mental health services in underprivileged communities."

Key milestones since graduation?

"I initially learned of NIH research training fellowships from Julie Tetley, the former director of first-year and sophomore studies and advising at CC, who was also one of my Boettcher Scholarship advisors. She helped put me in touch with my future NIH mentor during my sophomore year. I received two summer internships with the National Institute of Mental Health in the same lab where I currently work. Our group, called the Section on Neuroadaptation and Protein Metabolism, is an off-shoot of Dr. Louis Sokoloff's lab at the NIMH, a lab noteworthy for their development of a neuroimaging technique called Positron Emission Tomography (PET Scanning). We work to uncover the biochemical mechanisms underlying various mental and neurological diseases.

I do believe that CC instills in students both the knowledge and the skill-set to be successful in a professional workplace.

Networking through my CC advisors and others was a skill I learned and honed while at CC, and as the above example shows, is truly the reason I hold my current NIH position. Likewise, undertaking summer internships solidified my interest in this specific field, and helped get my application noticed when the time came for post-graduate employment. Similarly, networking initially through one of my fellow CC students led to my opportunity to work with a top health policy analyst and economist, who is also a physician, at The Brookings Institution. I certainly benefited from the amazing institutional support and networking opportunities that Colorado College provides its students."

Future aspirations?

"Following my one- to two-year fellowship at the NIH, I hope to matriculate into a combined M.D.-Ph.D. program, with my Ph.D. training in public health, in hopes of ultimately working to improve quality and access to mental health services for underserved and underrepresented communities. I envision that providing mental health care in disadvantaged areas will improve longitudinal community health and reduce health disparities. It will also hopefully create a more dynamic and productive workforce, thereby improving community economic prospects and downstream health outcomes."

Benefits of the CC experience?

"I absolutely feel that my CC experience has shaped my outlook on the professional world, and how I hope to fit in it. To begin, the Block Plan truly trains us to tackle problems efficiently. During my first summer at NIH — the summer after my sophomore year at CC — I was presented with an idea for a research study, and was asked to conduct background literature reviews and develop a scientific protocol for how I would carry out the work. The hope was for me to finish those two tasks during the first summer, and then conduct the study in subsequent summers. Attributable to my CC education and the skills the Block Plan fosters, I completed the literature review and protocol development within the first month of the summer, and completed the entire study during those three months. I do believe that CC instills in students both the knowledge and the skill-set to be successful in a professional workplace.