Fine made his tongue-in-cheek prediction/request while welcoming students and members of the Cedars-Sinai scientific community to the Research Internship Program Poster Symposium held recently at Harvey Morse Auditorium. Now in its fifth year, the event showcases the biomedical research strides students have made during their internships.
Some 60 posters were on display, submitted by interns from one of three initiatives established by Academic Programs in Human Resources:
- Research Internship Program—Offered throughout the year, this program enables undergraduate, graduate and medical students to conduct basic, translational or clinical research under the guidance of faculty mentors. During the past academic year, more than 190 such interns from the U.S. and abroad engaged in hands-on research with 97 faculty members in 11 departments across Cedars-Sinai.
- Minors in Research—This seven-week summer program pairs high school students ages 16 to 18 with experienced investigator-mentors who introduce them to real-world biomedical research.
- Biomedical Education Pipeline Initiative—This summer marked the inaugural session of this initiative created for undergraduate students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds who are interested in pursuing graduate school, medical school or both. The 10-week program includes mentoring by Cedars-Sinai faculty, laboratory learning and lunchtime dialogues with clinicians and research scientists.
"This has to be the most inspirational event on our annual calendar, and as evidenced by these impressive posters, the work these interns are doing is truly remarkable," Fine observed.
One such impressive poster belonged to Victoria Yu, a biomedical engineering major about to start her third year at Johns Hopkins University and one of four Research Internship Program poster winners for her study, "Disc Degeneration in a Rat Lumbar Spine." Dmitriy Sheyn, PhD, assistant professor of Orthopaedics, was her mentor.
"This is one of the best summers and best experiences I've ever had," Yu noted. "Dr. Sheyn was so helpful and the entire lab did all they could to get me as involved as possible."
Sheyn hit a science daily double of sorts having also mentored Kelly Ha, one of three Minors in Research poster winners for her project, "Designing Constructs Composed of 3D Printed Stem Cells in Bioink for Craniofacial Reconstruction."
Ha, a rising senior at South High School in Torrance, is now not only familiar with the rapidly growing field of three-dimensional bioprinting, but she also "had so many good, first-time experiences. I did a lot of troubleshooting and problem-solving, and those are skills you need in school and all aspects of life."
Sheyn spoke highly of Ha and Yu, and also stumped in support of mentoring. "It's important to invest time in teaching young people interested in science. Internships can cement students' career paths, and labs also benefit because interns bring fresh ideas and new energy."
The three other Research Internship Program poster winners were: Angie Aceves, from the laboratory of Roberta A. Gottlieb, MD, professor of Medicine and director of Molecular Cardiobiology; Edward Novinbakht, from the laboratory of Celine Riera, PhD, assistant professor of Biomedical Sciences; and Qihan Yu, who interned with Sarah-Jeanne Salvy, PhD, acting associate professor of Medicine.
The two other Minors in Research poster winners were: Bharath Jyothi, from the laboratory of Neil Bhowmick, PhD, professor of Medicine and director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer's Biology Program; and Laksh Kalra, from the laboratory of Maria Lauda Tomasi, PhD, assistant professor of Medicine.
While they didn't walk away poster winners, plenty of students gave their internships five-star reviews. Consider Cristine Kalinski, a neuroscience major slated to start her second year at Fordham University, who interned in the laboratory of Hisashi Tanaka, MD, PhD, associate professor of Surgery.
In addition to praising Tanaka's extensive knowledge and unwavering encouragement, she said, "It was a privilege to intern at Cedars-Sinai. The level of intellect and passion I encountered truly astounded me. I also attended lectures given by some of the world's leading researchers and I just finished my first year of college!"
For more information about internships, visit the websites of the Research Internship Program and the Regenerative Medicine Institute's High School Outreach Program.