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National Institutes of Health: Summer Research Experience

Studying the function of a stem-cell related gene

  • Anil K. Rustgi, MD, Professor of Medicine and Genetics and Chief of Gastroenterology
  • Louise Wang, undergraduate biochemistry student

Wang conducted research on the functions of the Lin28b gene, which is linked to pleuripotental stem cells, the flexible cells able to morph into any cell or tissue type. Wang worked with cancer researcher Rustgi. The study was funded by the Center for Digestive and Liver Diseases.

Developing gene therapies to treat two severe genetic disorders of the liver

  • Daniel Rader, MD, Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Jim Wilson, MD, PhD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
  • Christian Hinderer, undergraduate researcher
  • Alyssa Yeager, undergraduate researcher

Yeager and Hinderer worked in the laboratory of Wilson and Rader, both at Penn Medicine. Their work, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, focused on the development of gene therapies, in particular therapies to treat two severe genetic disorders of the liver that prevent absorption of dietary fats, cholesterol and fat-soluble vitamins, causing a host of ailments.

Exposing undergraduate and high school students to the field of environmental health science

Penn Medicine's Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology expanded two popular summer mentorship programs with funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Both programs, organized by Pinto-Martin of Penn Med and the School of Nursing, expose undergraduate and high school students to the field of environmental health science with the goal of increasing the pipeline of tomorrow's researchers. The Short-Term Educational Experiences for Research, STEER, program provided undergraduate students with the opportunity to research ozone-exposure-induced changes to the immune system.

Teen Research and Education in Environmental Science

  • Victor Fiore, a high school senior researcher
  • Rebecca Saionz, a high school junior researcher

The Teen Research and Education in Environmental Science, TREES, program gives high school students the opportunity to train in basic laboratory techniques and then work one on one with graduate-student mentors on self-designed projects that address issues in environmental science. This year, Fiore sought an effective heat treatment to eradicate antibiotics from water. Saionz studied the carcinogenic effects of radiation.

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