The CHORI Summer Research Program is designed to provide an unsurpassed opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the world of basic and/or clinical research for three months during the summer. The program pairs students with one or two CHORI principal investigators who serve as mentors, guiding the students through the design and testing of their own hypotheses and methodology development. At the end of the summer, students present their research to their peers just as any professional researcher would do.
Student Spotlight: Amrjit Bath
From India to CHORI and Children’s: On a Journey Toward Her Dream
“My experiences at CHORI and Children’s were inspiring. Shadowing the various pediatricians at Children’s solidified my choice to pursue a career as a pediatric cardiologist. And my experience in research showed me how scientific research can really benefit patients.”
Before Amarjit Kaur Bath was born in the Punjab region of northern India in November 1990, her father Palpinder Singh and mother Surinder Kaur had a son who died of a diarrheal disease. Although she never knew her older brother, his life and untimely death have played a role in her own life and ambitions— including her participation in the Summer Research Program at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute (CHORI) in 2014 and 2015.
“When my brother died, my parents were living in a rural area of Punjab where they didn’t have access to any medical resources,” Amarjit explains. “My brother’s death probably could have been avoided with proper medical care. So because of my family’s loss, I’ve always wanted to pursue a career in medicine.”
Amarjit’s journey toward that dream has taken her far from her native India.
“When we moved to California, I was enrolled at Deer Valley High School in Antioch at age 12,” she recalls. “My first day there was simply awful because I didn’t understand English at all. I took ESL (English as a second language) courses for two years. English is actually my third language. During this time, my mother had a variety of health issues, and I served as her translator when she went to see various doctors. I found the doctors very caring, and that experience further fueled my desire to work in the field of medicine.”
After Amarjit graduated from high school at age 16, she attended Boston Reed College in Napa, earning
a Certificate of Completion as a Pharmacy Technician in May 2009. Working at the pharmacy was where she learned about CHORI’s Summer Research Program from one her co- workers.
For the summer of 2014, Amarjit was assigned to the laboratory of Deborah Dean, MD, PhD, studying chlamydia trachomatis, the most common bacterial cause of sexually transmitted diseases in the United States.
“I learned how to isolate human endometrial cells and infect them with chlamydia trachomatis to study the host- pathogen interaction,” Amarjit recalls. “My summer internship lasted for nine weeks, and after the internship was over, I continued to work on my research project as a volunteer for seven months.”
As part of her requirements for earning her bachelor’s degree in Pre-Doctoral Health Science, Amarjit’s Supervised Field Training Health Science class required her to “shadow” physicians in various specialties at Children’s Hospital for a total of 90 hours.
Amarjit applied to return to the CHORI Summer Research Program in 2015, and was once again accepted. She started her second internship in June, working in the laboratory of Joel Palefsky, MD, an infectious disease specialist and professor of medicine and laboratory medicine at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF).
“My experiences at CHORI and Children’s were inspiring. It was an absolute pleasure to work with all
the doctors. Shadowing the various pediatricians at Children’s was phenomenal and solidified my choice to pursue a career as a pediatric cardiologist. My experience in research showed me how scientific research can really benefit patients.”
Amarjit’s next steps along the journey to her dream career include taking the MCAT and applying to medical schools.
“My ultimate goal is to be a pediatric cardiologist and make a difference by focusing on prevention and detection of early cardiovascular disease in youth— including, perhaps, in my native Punjab area of India.”
Revised: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 9:57 AM