Erick Rocher

Leonardus Loos and Shelley Holzemer Intern

Hometown: Orlando, FL
Education: Johns Hopkins University
MD Mentor: Dr. Robert Steffen​​​​​​​
Staff Mentors: Madeline DeMonte and Anthony Brown-Norton​​​​​​​
Project: Predicting prosthesis size in patients undergoing surgical aortic valve replacement for bicuspid aortic valve disease

How did you hear about the MHIF internship and why did you want to participate?

I discovered the MHIF internship while searching for a summer clinical research experience, and I immediately knew this opportunity was special. Not only would I gain experience in conducting clinical research, but I would also be given the opportunity to be deeply involved in a unique and impactful project. I was also drawn to the exceptional intern experience, including the many shadowing opportunities and physician presentations we can observe, which will offer a uniquely-personal exposure to the practice of cardiology.

What sparked your interest in the field of research, medicine and cardiology? 

The concept of developing novel treatments to “cure the incurable” sparked my interest in medicine and biomedical research. From this, I developed a passion to use biomedical engineering to improve patient outcomes through translational research. During my time as a Johns Hopkins undergraduate, and especially as an EMT, I found patient care to be both exciting and deeply rewarding. Consequently, I gained an increasing interest in a career as a physician. My interest in cardiology began when a close family member’s quality of life was significantly improved following a cardiac procedure. After witnessing the immediate and life-changing benefits of this treatment, I knew I wanted to bridge my engineering and research interests within the field of cardiology.

What is your desired career in medicine?

My goal is to become a physician within the fields of cardiology or oncology, and I find the surgical subspecialties within these fields to be of particular interest. In addition, I am pursuing an undergraduate focus area in immunoengineering, which seeks to optimize our immune systems for the purposes of regenerative medicine, host response, and cancer treatment. I hope to apply this unique skillset in impactful ways within cardiology and/or oncology. I aspire for a career where I can bridge my passion for engineering and medicine to improve patient care as a physician-engineer, and to develop the treatments of the future.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

I am most excited to work on a research project that has significant potential to meaningfully improve clinical practice. I am also very interested to learn more about the career paths of my physician mentors, along with their personal experiences and considerations. I am eager to hear their advice for undergraduates considering a career in medicine and clinical research.

What do you hope to gain from this experience? 

I hope to gain confidence in my research skills and insight into the process of clinical research. I look forward to learning about the day-to-day of my physician mentors, how they balance research and clinical care in their practice, and how they bridge those two aspects of their work.

What are your plans after the summer?

I will be returning to Baltimore in the fall to complete my junior year as a biomedical engineering student at Johns Hopkins University. I hope to continue building my research skills and exposure to medicine before applying to medical school in a couple years!

What is a fun fact about you?

I have an identical twin brother!


Back to Meet the 2022 Interns

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The Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation® (MHIF) strives to create a world without heart and vascular disease. To achieve this bold vision, we are dedicated to improving the cardiovascular health of individuals and communities through innovative research and education.

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Since 2002, MHIF's Clinical Research Internship Program has hosted 235+ students for a unique physician-mentored cardiovascular research internship for undergraduate students. Interns not only gain exceptional experience that helps them prepare for medical school, they also help move MHIF research forward.

Community support is key to our ability to enlist the highest level of talent with annual internship costs exceeding $25,000 per intern. Build new opportunities for the next generation of world-class physician researchers by making a MATCHED gift by May 31st!