Posts

About Me

Hello, my name is Anthony Moussa!

I am a third-year Eminence Fellow majoring in Biomedical Science with a minor in Neuroscience. My goal is to serve as a physician-scientist, bridging my interests in neuroscience to improve health outcomes and care for patients in the clinic. I am conducting research in the Department of Neuroscience under Dr. Jason Wester. In the Wester Lab, we are utilizing electrophysiology techniques and transgenic mice to investigate the development of neural circuits in the cortex and understand features of circuitry implicated in neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. This work has helped build on my previous research experience at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases, the Center for Perinatal Research, and the Institute for Genomic Medicine.

 

Alongside research, I am passionate about identifying and addressing health disparities as well as improving access to quality education. This passion is reflected in my ongoing service contributions to La Clínica Latina, Vocalize Columbus, Cultivate Columbus, and several tutoring organizations. I look forward to continue supporting these research and service initiatives.

In my free time, I enjoy rock climbing, biking, teaching/playing piano, and standing on my hands.

Feel free to reach out to me at moussa.27@osu.edu

By the way, if you’re also intrigued by the Brainbow image above, check out http://cbs.fas.harvard.edu/science/connectome-project/brainbow#

Image credits: Jean Livet, Joshua R. Sanes, and Jeff Lichtman, Harvard University

2020-2021 Reflection

Amidst the challenges during the pandemic, I thank the extraordinary community and healthcare teams supporting our health and safety. I am inspired by their efforts and grateful for the opportunity to continue my education.

It’s hard to describe my sense of wonder learning about foundational topics in the courses Cellular/Molecular and Behavioral Neuroscience. Eager to explore, I realized that many concepts are still emerging; This motivated me to pursue additional coursework and research in the field with the hopes of improving our understanding of neurological disorders. Taking Quantitative Neuroscience, I was happily surprised by how dynamical systems and bifurcation theory can be applied to computational models in neurobiology: Working with my friends from computer science and mathematics backgrounds, I enjoyed adopting a system of differential equations and presenting our final project analyzing how dysregulation of glial potassium buffering could produce spike patterns characteristic of epilepsy.

Outside of core neuroscience classes, I am enthusiastic to apply my interests: As part of Biomedical Science Lab Techniques, I took pride in sharing about the principles and growing applications of optogenetics. For our team ethics project, I discussed the history, precautions, and therapeutic promise of brain-machine interfaces. As I work towards a Neuroscience minor and begin graduate-level coursework, I am fascinated by the complexity and principles of the nervous system, especially during development. I am greatly appreciative of the opportunities to probe this frontier with guidance from insightful mentors and collaborating with passionate research teams (check out “Research” to learn more).

From shadowing in the operating room to observing in the clinic, I appreciate the importance of translating basic science findings for treating refractory patients and renewing hope with personalized interventions. The motivation to improve health outcomes by bridging my interests in neuroscience and caring for patients underlies my career endeavors. Through contributing to and leading service initiatives, I strive to address social determinants of health and serve communities, many of which have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19, by improving access to quality educational and medical resources (visit “Service” for more).

As I enter my junior year looking forward to build on these initiatives, I realize there is still a lot more to learn: I reflect on this as a meaningful opportunity for further growth in my last two years of undergrad and continued support of my community.

2020-2021 Service Updates

Vocalize Columbus

During the summer of 2020, I co-founded Vocalize Columbus – an organization (nonprofit status pending) with the mission to improve patient experience and health outcomes for limited English proficiency individuals by connecting interpreters to serve remotely at free clinics in need. It has been a meaningful experience coordinating volunteer operations through hosting workshops, guiding bilingual students towards interpreting certification, and developing a team of professional interpreters from around the world. I am excited to serve as a Spanish medical interpreter on our team.

As we continue to grow our volunteer base, develop our online interface, and meet with community partners, we strive towards our mission. We are looking forward to providing interpretation services at the Remote Area Medical‘s Columbus summer clinic and partnering with the Columbus Cancer Clinic in the fall. As our organization’s Chief Analytics Officer, I am motivated to gain insights and expand our outreach from analyzing data pertaining to the needs of free clinics, patient experience, and interpreter feedback.

Tutoring and Mentoring

Building on my interest to improve access to quality education, I am part of the organizations Pass the Class, UPChieve, and Village Mentors. I mentor and tutor homeless youth, adults working towards their GED, low-income high schoolers, and primary school students in Zambia and Malawi. I appreciate learning from my mentees and it is a fulfilling experience helping them achieve their goals.

Cultivate Columbus

With my Eminence cohort, I helped start an organization called Cultivate Columbus to address social inequities and pursue food justice in low-income neighborhoods through maintaining community gardens. We have been working with Columbus City Schools to create educational materials promoting healthy eating practices, and I initiated a developing partnership with Pass the Class to start a garden at Franklin Manor, one of our community tutoring sites.

La Clínica Latina and Medical Interpretation

Alongside the goals of Vocalize Columbus to overcome the language barrier in medicine and improve health outcomes, I am volunteering with La Clínica Latina, a free healthcare clinic that serves primarily Spanish-speaking patients. I enjoy interpreting for patient intake and organizing our electronic medical record data for clinical reports.

With the goal to provide additional services to caregivers and patients in the clinic, I am training for national certification in medical interpretation. In this pursuit, I completed The Community Interpreter: Medical Focus 40-hour program to develop the foundation for professional interpreting skills.

Safe and Healthy Campus Innovation:

Motivated to contribute to COVID-19 response efforts, I joined a team and pitched a project idea for the Safe and Healthy Campus Innovation Challenge supported by Ohio State’s Chief Wellness Officer, Office of Student Life, and the College of Nursing’s Center for Healthcare Innovation and Wellness. We won the challenge for our interdisciplinary project “Straw-nger Together” on designing and distributing straw-friendly face masks.

2020-2021 Research Updates

Wester Lab, Department of Neuroscience:

At the beginning of 2020, I joined the Wester Lab. Our lab uses transgenic mice and electrophysiology techniques to investigate the organization and development of neural circuits in the cortex. Under Dr. Jason Wester, I am conducting a project that involves analyzing single-cell RNA-sequencing data of mouse cortical neurons from the Allen Institute for Brain Science. Our goal is to identify candidate mechanisms underlying the establishment and maintenance of circuits by comparing expression of adhesion molecules among neuronal subclasses across distinct cortical regions. This work is strengthening my computational skills in R and Python. As I learn new lab techniques, I am excited to build on my results and prepare my honors thesis.

Presentations:

2021:

Making progress with my mentored project in the Wester Lab, I recently discussed our findings at the New England Science Symposium and The Ohio State University College of Medicine Research Trainee Day. I enjoyed hearing other students’ presentations and took pride in sharing my poster on identifying clinically relevant candidate mechanisms underlying circuit architecture in the neocortex.

2020:

I enjoyed presenting for the first time at the New England Science Symposium sponsored by Harvard Medical School and the Biomedical Science Careers Program (BSCP). My presentation titled the “Commercial Cancer Panel Conundrum” covered the cancer genomics research I conducted in the Institute for Genomic Medicine at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, assessing the disparity in diagnostic yields between broad genetic profiling and targeted panel sequencing.

During the summer, I enrolled in a biostatistics and research design course: Infectious disease ecology, evolution, and transmission. I performed a literature review to better understand genetic factors implicated in Kawasaki Disease (KD) and multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a pediatric sequela of COVID-19 with KD-like features. I designed and presented an independent research proposal on conducting a genome-wide association study to investigate susceptibility of developing multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), a pediatric sequela of COVID-19.