Make The Connection

January 3, 2024 | By Cole Hatcher

During her summer research experience at Texas Children's Hospital, Ohio Wesleyan senior Nandini Arora uses whole blood samples to test for variations of the dengue virus. Her work is part of a Centers for Disease Control-supported study. (Photo courtesy of Nandina Arora '24)

Immersed in Immunobiology

Ohio Wesleyan Student Conducts CDC-Supported Research at Texas Children's Hospital

Name: Nandini Arora '24
Hometown: Delhi, India
High School: The International School Bangalore
Majors: Biochemistry and Microbiology
OWU Connection Experience: Working as an undergraduate student researcher over the summer at Texas Children's Hospital in Houston and presenting a poster as part of the Baylor College of Medicine's SMART (Summer Undergraduate Research Training) Program

Arora's work included carrying out quantitative PCR (polymerase chain reaction) diagnostic tests to search for dengue virus serotypes in RNA samples extracted from whole blood.

My Research

"I worked at the Immunobiology Center at Texas Children's Hospital. The project I was involved with was a (Centers for Disease Control) CDC-supported study pertaining to the epidemiological investigations of dengue virus in Central America, specifically Belize, since it is a region whose public health infrastructure and dynamics are not that well researched.

"A tropical climate makes the country very susceptible to dengue virus transmissions. (The virus is spread by mosquitoes and causes dengue, or "bonebreak" fever.) The lab focused on better understanding the prevalence of viral infections over the years and how the COVID-19 pandemic affected numbers."

The research internship added immense value to my overall college experience and helped me better understand my career goals.

Nandini Arora '24

Lessons Learned

"The research internship added immense value to my overall college experience and helped me better understand my career goals. In addition to technical skills, I acquired soft skills in multiple areas such as networking, professionalism, time management, and adaptability.

"Material I had learned in class, specifically Molecular Biology of Viruses, was very helpful in building a strong foundation of concepts that formed the basis of lab research."

My Favorite Moment

"The program had an elevator pitch contest. Being able to present complex research in a short, succinct manner felt challenging but rewarding."

My Campus Involvements

"I was on the committee of Horizons International for two years (as decorations chair and secretary). I have been the treasurer for Women in Science and a member of the Biology Student Board. I am a member of Kappa Kappa Gamma. I also worked at the Accessibility Services Office."

Why I Chose to Attend Ohio Wesleyan?

"I was drawn toward the small size class, the opportunities provided by the OWU Connection, and a nurturing learning environment in general."

My Plans After Graduation

"I intend to go to graduate school for research in pharmacology. The constant support provided by Career Connection has been beneficial in helping me narrow down my interests and curate my path to grad school."