Fifty Indiana high-school students will get that opportunity March 1-2 at the 10th anniversary of the Molecular Medicine in Action program at the Indiana University School of Medicine and Riley Hospital for Children. These select students will work alongside some of the nation’s top researchers in the labs of the Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.
Packets will be mailed in mid-September to Indiana’s high schools and science teachers will be able to select students for participation. There is an online application form at www.wellscenter.iupui.edu/MMIA with a deadline for submission of Oct. 31. Applications will be reviewed by a panel of Indiana biology and chemistry teachers, and selections will be made and students notified by Dec. 15.
“With the decoding of the human genome, research continues to press forward to understand the roles genes play in disease and to discover new and effective ways to correct genetic flaws,” says program director Mark Kelley, Ph.D., associate director of the Wells Center and the Betty and Earl Herr Professor of Pediatric Oncology Research at the IU School of Medicine. “Working side-by-side with our scientists, our program gives science students a realistic and meaningful hands-on experience.”
Under the supervision of IU scientists, the students will rotate through workstations and labs, learning how DNA – the building blocks of life – is isolated and analyzed. They will observe how gene mutations are identified and how modified genes are used in therapy. Students also will learn about the latest microscopic imaging techniques that enable researchers to study living cells.
“For 10 years, the Wells Center has offered this outstanding program for our state’s top science students,” says Richard L. Schreiner, M.D., IU Department of Pediatrics chair and physician-in-chief at the Riley Hospital for Children. “This successful educational program has built closer ties between the IU School of Medicine and Indiana’s science teachers and students.”
“Our goal is to share the excitement of what genetic science promises,” says Karen Pollok, Ph.D., assistant professor of pediatrics, pharmacology and toxicology. “We merely loan the student participants the tools to learn – they provide the vision.”
This year’s program is supported in part by: Herman B Wells Center for Pediatric Research, IU School of Medicine, and Riley Children’s Foundation. “During this 10th anniversary year, we applaud the Wells Center faculty for providing this experience for our best and brightest students who will be our future science leaders,” says Kevin O’Keefe, president and chief executive officer of the Riley Children’s Foundation.