Summertime Brains: Joanne Compo

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Joanne Compo, a sophomore at the University of Washington in Seattle, WA, spent the summer of 2017 working in the lab of NIH IRP Distinguished Investigator Dr. Kenneth Fischbeck. She helped create a quality of life questionnaire for patients with Kennedy’s disease, a neuromuscular disorder that causes muscles to weaken over time due to the death of motor neurons responsible for movement. Such a questionnaire could help affected individuals get diagnosed more quickly and shed light on which interventions improve their lives the most.

Compo is a member of the Yakama Native American tribe and grew up on the Yakama reservation with little exposure to science. She hopes that her work at NIH will inspire her Native American peers to pursue opportunities like the NIH’s Summer Internship Program, “so that they too can see they have something to contribute to the scientific world.”

The video above, featuring Compo, is the third in a series of profiles highlighting IRP interns who worked in NIH National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) intramural labs this past summer. Look forward to one more video profile of the summer interns in the coming weeks.

Category: Science

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1 Comment

Dawn A. Walker
January 18, 2018, 10:10 am

This story brought tears to my eyes. While not Native American, I too grew up low income with an uneducated parent (single). I was clueless about scientific and biomedical research. I am so happy to see this young woman thrive.