written by: Isabel Dominguez, Ph.D.
We had our first “Meet the Intern” event today with Ana de la Cueva, who completed an internship at the Clinical Trials Office (CTO).
Ana was driven to intern at the CTO while learning how basic laboratory research on drugs and drug targets was applied. She had gotten publications in her research career, but was ready to move on to a career in the pharmaceutical industry. Following news on Pharma companies, she started learning about clinical trials and realized this was the career she wanted to pursue.
At first, Ana was hesitant to ask her PI about participating in the internship. But her hesitance proved to be unfounded; she received permission because her PI is very interested in professional development of trainees, and also because after 4 years, her PI knows that her laboratory work will continue unaffected.
For this internship, Ana used and developed skills on medical data and database management, informatics, and communication and teamwork. At the CTO, Ana worked on protocols for cancer and other diseases and medical devices. She became familiar with reading clinical trial protocols, focusing on the information she needed, and generating calendars for the patients visits to Boston Medical Center and the VA Boston Healthcare System. The information she input in the system could be accessed by the MDs, nurses and other professionals who participated in the trials. She also learned about the origins of the CTO and the financial aspect of the office. Ana said that “the environment at the CTO was great, I worked in a team that was always helping each other.”
Ana recently got a job in clinical oncology. The internship at the CTO and her classes in Clinical Investigation at BUMC helped her get it. In her new job, Ana will be creating a database with data from cancer clinical trials. Ana told us, “in the internship, I gained experience and learned all aspects of a clinical trial, including variables studied, informed consent and the importance of medical record numbers. The internship was what I needed to move from the laboratory to a clinical job.”