Claire Vanden Heuvel, a second-year medical student and mentee in the Julie Mares Laboratory, presented a poster at the 19th Annual Medical Student Research Forum on November 23. Her project, the culmination of work during the UW School of Medicine and Public Health Shapiro Summer Research Program, was titled, “Breastfeeding history and retinal thickness, macular pigment optical density in the Carotenoids in Age-Related Eye Disease Study (CAREDS).”
Vanden Heuvel spent her summers in college working as an ophthalmic technician and surgical technician under Michael Vrabec, MD, (Residency 1987). Through this exposure to comprehensive ophthalmology and anterior segment surgery, Vanden Heuvel discovered a passion for ophthalmology.
Dr. Mares’ lab has been an excellent fit for Vanden Heuvel, as it combines her excitement about ophthalmology with her interest in public health and epidemiology.
Dr. Mares and her team, including Thomas Lawler, MS, RD, Zhe (Jason) Liu, MS, and Marine Nalbandyan, MD, MPH, PhD, taught me a great deal, and I am incredibly grateful to all of them for sharing their expertise with me. Despite some last-minute adjustments due to COVID, I was fortunate to learn a lot this summer – not only about macular pigment and age-related eye disease, but also about how to work with large datasets and understand complex relationships through epidemiological research. – claire vanden heuvel