Skip to main content

ASPIRE Internship Opportunity: CSNK2A1 Foundation Science Communication Intern (remote position)

Posted by on Thursday, May 18, 2023 in Announcements .

CSNK2A1 Foundation
Science Communication Intern (remote position)

1929 Van Ness Avenue
San Francisco, CA 94109

The CSNK2A1 Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on finding a cure for Okur-Chung Neurodevelopmental Syndrome (OCNDS) and ensuring affected individuals have the opportunities and supports necessary for happy and full lives. We have a 3-board structure that supports our ability to accelerate the path to treatment: the Board of Directors, Scientific Advisory Board, and Parent Advisory Board.

Okur-Chung Neurodevelopmental Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that was first identified in 2016. OCNDS is caused by a heterozygous mutation in the CSNK2A1 gene, located on Chromosome 20. The gene CSNK2A1 encodes for the alpha subunit of a protein called Casein Kinase 2 (CK2) which plays a crucial role in development. More than 160 patients worldwide have been diagnosed with OCNDS so far. This number is expected to increase with increasing utilization of whole exome sequencing in other regions of the world. There is no definitive treatment for OCNDS yet.

All individuals with OCNDS have some degree of developmental delay and/or differences in brain function including autism spectrum disorder. The most common symptoms are speech delay/inability to speak, motor delay (e.g., walking, feeding difficulties), behavioral challenges (e.g., tantrums, hand flapping, other stereotypic movements), sleep problems due to disrupted circadian rhythm, and other neurologic problems such as low muscle tone (hypotonia), clumsy movements, small head (microcephaly), epilepsy (seizures), and gait abnormalities.

The ASPIRE intern will work under the direction of Gabrielle Rushing, Ph.D., Science Program Director, and Jennifer Sills, J.D., Founder and President, and other collaborators as needed to assist in the responsibilities detailed below.

Primary Responsibilities

The CSNK2A1 Foundation seeks a volunteer intern to assist in educating the OCNDS community about the syndrome, ongoing research, and scientific concepts such as drug development. The intern will generate content that includes scientific descriptions for a lay audience, including graphics, video recordings via zoom, or other media forms and identify opportunities for continued growth and engagement online. Additional opportunities may be available depending upon the interest of the candidate.

This opportunity allows the intern to:

  • Gain experience in working with patients and families aligned to improve the lives of individuals with OCNDS
  • Gain exposure to a start-up culture at an early-stage non-profit scientific foundation
  • Gain experience developing digital content for an ultra-rare disease non-profit
  • Network with scientific foundation professionals
  • Interact with scientists and clinicians who study OCNDS


  • Internship will run from July-September (approximately 12 weeks), with potential to extend pending review.
  • Internship is remote, unpaid, part-time (2-5 hours per week, variable).
  • The intern will support the CSNK2A1 Foundation as needed and interact primarily through email and Zoom meetings.
  • Must be a US citizen or permanent resident.

Applications due noon, Friday, June 30, 2023

To apply:

  • Fill out the following ASPIRE Internship Application found here:
  • Submit a resume and cover letter as pdfs with your last name_Coverletter/Resume_CSNK2A1_Sci Comm_Summer 2023  in the file name within the Redcap Application form linked above.
  • Set up a zoom meeting with Ashley Brady via prior to the application deadline.

Your information will then be passed along to the organization who will contact you directly to schedule an interview.

For further questions, please contact Ashley Brady (


Please review ASPIRE Internship FAQs: Found here
​For further questions, please contact Ashley Brady (

Eligibility requirements

  • Applicants must be a current Vanderbilt University PhD student or a current postdoctoral fellow.
  • All PhD students must have completed all coursework for their degree prior to the start of the internship.
  • Biomedical PhD students must also have passed their qualifying exams before the application deadline.
  • Students and postdocs may not participate in more than one internship at a time.  More than one application may be submitted at a single time, but only one position can be accepted.
  • If you are not in a department supported by the BRET office, we will also require that you complete a form guaranteeing PI approval to participate in this program. Please contact Ashley Brady at for more information.
  • If you are an international student or postdoctoral fellow, your visa status may affect your work eligibility. Please contact Ashley Brady ( to discuss this further.
  • Must be authorized to work in the US

Tags: , ,