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Celebrating the Next Generation of Scientists
CHORI Celebrates 30th Anniversary of the Summer Student Research Symposium

August 12, 2011 - CHORI closed out the summer with its annual Summer Student Research Symposium on August 12, 2011. While high school, college and post- baccalaureate students converge each summer at CHORI to work one-on-one with a CHORI clinical, translational or basic research scientist, this year was distinctive, in that it marked the 30th anniversary of the program.

“Initiated in 1981 with just a handful of trainees, our summer research program has since exploded in size and scope, and now receives National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and serves nearly 40 students every year,” says Alexander Lucas, PhD, CHORI Senior Scientist and Executive Director. 

“Initiated in 1981 with just a handful of trainees, our summer research program has since exploded in size and scope.”

"Consisting of nine weeks of scientific research, the Summer Student Research Program provides the unique opportunity for students of all ages to work with professional researchers to identify a hypothesis, develop a research proposal, conduct a research experiment and, at the annual symposium, to present their research in a formal venue among their peers and professional researchers.

"We are really here to make things happen for these students, to remove the roadblocks that can exist for students to experience high caliber clinical and basic research, and to help students consolidate their future research plans so that they enter into their graduate school programs really knowing what it is they want to do," says CHORI scientist and co-director Vasanthy Narayanaswami, PhD.

To help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the program, CHORI was especially lucky this year to have the help of California Assemblywoman, Nancy Skinner, who celebrated the hard work of this year's students by providing them with a certificate of achievement.

"The certificates were very spiffy-looking documents stamped with a golden seal," says Dr. Narayanaswami. "It was a wonderful way to recognize both the achievements of the program itself, as well as the individual students who conducted such stellar research this year."

Forty-five different students participated this year, investigating a wide-range of both clinical and basic research topics. Anita Chanana, a senior at UC Berkeley majoring in Molecular Toxicology, worked with CHORI scientist Ervin Epstein, PhD, investigating treatments and preventative measures for basal cell carcinomas (BCCs), while Napala Pratini, a junior at St. Mary's College of California, worked with CHORI clinical scientist Jacob Neufeld, MD providing a comprehensive literature review on Neimann Pick Typce C Disease (NPCD) and potential complications of treating patients using a Medtronic pump drug infusion system.

These are but two examples of the wide-ranging research areas participating students have the opportunity to explore and share with the larger community. Over 250 people attended this year's symposium to hear lectures and poster presentations by each of the 45 participants, and to help celebrate the program's continued efforts to provide the very best in research education, training and awareness.

"With the generous efforts of all our mentors and supervisors who dedicate their invaluable time and energy, we are grateful to be able to provide this opportunity for students to experience the excitement of working in basic, translational, clinical or community-based research," says Dr. Lucas.

“This is just a small part of CHORI’s deep commitment to educating and fostering tomorrow’s leaders.”

If the students participating in the 30th year of the summer program are any indication, CHORI is more than meeting its goals.

As Anita Chanana explains, “I have witnessed medicine going from the lab bench to the patient’s bedside, and the amazing impact that can have on a patient’s quality of life,“ while Napala Pratini continues: “I truly feel that I have benefited from this program and its many opportunities. I now have even further determination to become a doctor and help those less fortunate than myself.”


Tuesday, November 15, 2011 11:22 AM

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