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Meet Jamal Magoti ‘23 Magoti’s summer internship allowed him to apply knowledge from his neuroscience classes while also exposing him to cutting-edge technology in the field.

Jamal-Magoti-scaled-600x400 Meet Jamal Magoti ‘23

We love it when classes are in session here on campus, but the learning doesn’t stop when summer starts! Summers offer unique opportunities for Washington and Lee University students to explore their interests and gain valuable professional experience, and W&L’s abundant resources make it easy to find internships and research opportunities across the country and around the world.

As part of the Faces of W&L series, we caught up with W&L students about their unique summer experiences. Learn more about student summer opportunities here.

Name: Jamal Magoti
Hometown: Mwanza, Tanzania
Major: Neuroscience

Last year, I spent 10 weeks in New York City as a summer undergraduate researcher at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. I worked in Dr. Deanna Benson’s lab, which studies the comorbidity of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) with melanoma.

One way that the lab studies this is through mapping spatial and dynamic relationships between macrophages, axons and vasculature in cleared mouse brains and melanoma tumors. However, the clearing technique that the lab had been using was lengthy and bleached the fluorescent signals in the tissues.

My project aimed to resolve this by integrating Fast 3D Clear — a novel tissue clearing technique that is fast, simple and reversible — into the study pipeline. Specifically, I worked on validating whether tissues cleared with this technique retained their endogenous fluorescence; and whether they are compatible with fluorescent antibody labeling upon reversal of the procedure. To do this, I used brains from mice that endogenously express tdTomato, a fluorescent protein, in neurons expressing the Drd1 receptor in the striatum. I cleared their brains and generated 3D images using light sheet microscopy. I then reverse cleared, sectioned and immunolabeled them with different neuronal markers before imaging with confocal microscopy.

As part of my program, I also had the opportunity to shadow physicians from different medical specialties that I am interested in. I shadowed various cardiovascular surgeons and a surgical oncologist both in the clinic and in the operating room.

Prior to last summer, I had taken various classes on neurodegenerative disorders and diseases like PD. This experience was an amazing opportunity that not only allowed me to learn more about the disease, but also exposed me to the cutting-edge technology utilized in studying it.