“I presented my work for the entire division.
It felt like my research was making a difference.”
Kristina Jonsson-Schmunk was a Merck Future Talent intern for 12 weeks this summer. She worked on a joint project between pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and drug metabolism, and safety assessment. Her project focused on developing an assay to predict idiosyncratic drug-induced liver injury caused by specific drug metabolite. In order to develop this assay, she used techniques like flow cytometry and ELISA.
When asked what her favorite part of her internship was, Kristina says, “I worked independently on my project and the resources at Merck were great. In my 12 weeks I was able to expand my knowledge about flow cytometry and apply this to my project.”
Every internship and job comes with its challenges though, and Kristina explained that one of the challenges was waiting to complete safety classes in order to get into the lab. “Things move a little bit slower when you work for a big company compared to here at the university.” she says.
For those interested in completing an internship in the future, Kristina advises: “This is your chance to network. My supervisors arranged meetings with about 20 scientists around the different fields of Merck so that I could learn about the different departments but also have valuable contacts for when I will start applying for jobs. Everyone loved to talk to me, and I felt truly inspired by them.”
In Dr. Maria Croyle’s laboratory, Kristina studies how virus infection changes drug metabolism, specifically cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4). They have shown that adenovirus infection results in a suppression of CYP3A4.