Center for Translational and International Hematology

Pittsburgh Heart, Lung and Blood Vascular Medicine Institute
University of Pittsburgh


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Vascular Medicine Institute
BST E1240
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
Center for Translational and International Hematology



The Center for Translational and International Hematology (CTIH) supports a 6-8 week research education experience, Global Health Research Summer Internship (GHRSI) at the Vascular Medicine Institute. An integral part of our Center's mission is to foster the training of future scientists in fundamental and applied blood science research to catalyze precision medicine globally. The program will pair each intern with a VMI Faculty in Translational oriented Hematology, Sickle Cell Disease, and Vascular biology to provide a comprehensive research education experience and training in blood science.

Our past interns have engaged in a variety of research projects aimed to advance the body of scientific knowledge relevant to hematological disorders. Our objective for GHRSI is to provide a foundation for this long term goal by successfully training our future generation of blood science researchers.


The Internship is intended for Undergraduate and Graduate students from accredited foreign institutions of higher education.


Download the application HERE.


These positions are self-funded. There is a $100 Application fee and a $4000 Enrollment fee to cover supplements to be utilized in the lab.

Summer 2017 Intern

Oluwaseun Orikogbo, BA

Oluwaseun Orikogbo is a first year medical school student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Virginia (UVA) and took one year off working for Epic, a medical electronic record company, before attending medical school. Seun is conducting research under Organ Damage in Sickle Cell Disease Study (ORDISS) at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana. Her research focuses on the association between circulating heme, HO-1 (a plasma hemopexin that scavenges circulating heme for degradation), and biomarkers of acute kidney injury (AKI) such as interleukin-18 (IL-18) and kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1). Seun embarked on this project because of her strong interest in global health and life-long passion of producing research that can benefit the healthcare outcomes of many.

Summer 2016 Intern

Anis Adnani, BS, BA

Global Health Research Experience
The six weeks I have spent in Kumasi, Ghana have been both educational and inspiring. Over the duration of my stay (June-July 2016), I have completed an independent public health research project. During my first two weeks, I aided clinical research efforts at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) that were studying HIV and sickle cell disease, two debilitating and stigmatized diseases. I am truly grateful for the depth of knowledge and endless support that the staff shared with me during training. Both studies have profound public health applications, and they have both affirmed my interest in public health research.
For the second part of my project, I volunteered for the Sickle Cell Foundation of Ghana (SCFG). As part of my volunteer experience, I was able to observe the entire screening process for sickle cell disease. I first visited the Suntreso Government Hospital, where I observed and aided the pricking of infant heels and completion of paperwork to be sent to Accra, Ghana. Subsequently, I went to the Foundation’s newborn screening office at KATH. There, I was able to learn about the screening database, as well as help counsel parents about their child’s hemoglobin genotype. The work that the Foundation does in Ghana is inspirational, and they set an incredible example for other potential projects in countries that have systemic public health disparities.  
For the last stage, I returned to the research sphere to volunteer for the TransMAL research study conducted by the Kumasi Centre for Collaborative Research (KCCR). I learned about the challenges of field work, such as patient compliance. I was able to assist assemble a field station, gather patient data, and process laboratory samples. I also had the unique opportunity to visit nearby communities to inform participants of their appointment date and to give them sample containers for the laboratory. Perhaps the most amazing part of KCCR field work is their dedication to the patients, as well as the research. They advocate for their subjects’ health and wellness, since many do not see a doctor regularly. KCCR is not just a research leader; it is a leader of its community as well.
Overall, this project has taught me many things about medicine, such as the need to be culturally competent, fiscally sound, and to conduct evidenced-based practice.  Most importantly, I am now certain global health will be an essential part of my career. In addition to research and clinical involvement, effective global healthcare requires equally effective collaboration, and my project is no exception. I would like to extend my utmost thanks and appreciation to the following: Dr. Solomon Ofori-Acquah, Dr. Ellis Owusu-Dabo, and Dr. Vivian Paintsil, as well as all KCCR, KATH, and SCFG staff. Thank you for making this journey a success.

Summer 2015 Interns

Latifatu Mohammed

Latifatu is a native of Ghana and a final year Biomedical Engineering student of the University of Ghana, Legon. She is undertaking an eight-week long research internship at the Vascular Medicine Institute, University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the following question: “Does Hydroxyurea stop endothelial barrier dysfunction or disruption? This research question is considered key in answering questions related to Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) treatment with Hydroxyurea. In order to successfully answer the research question indicated above, it is important to have impeccable laboratory training and skill in a fully equipped laboratory. Latifatu hopes to gain experience in tissue culture, endothelial cell barrier impedance experiments and microfluidics at the end of her internship. Her short-term goal is to come up with a very challenging final year project related to biomedical engineering. Her long-term goal is to be a medical doctor in the future.

Chibueze Nwaiwu

Chibueze Nwaiwu is a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He completed his Bachelor of Science in Nursing at the University of Virginia (UVA) and worked as a registered nurse on the thoracic cardiovascular unit of the UVA Medical Center. He is investigating an association between the plasma concentrations of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor and Placental Growth Factor (PlGF), and the development of acute pulmonary complications in pregnant women with sickle cell disease, at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana. Chibueze embarked on this project because of his interest in global health and hopes to learn more about, as well as contribute, to the body of scientific knowledge relevant to the management of sickle cell disease.