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In This Issue:
From left, FDSRP student Kristen Regini, mentors Rebecca Baron and Laura Fredenburgh, and student Joel Begay.
A typical day in the lab for Joel Begay, a BWH summer research student and rising junior at Colorado College, revolves around cells - from creating an environment in which they can grow to evaluating exactly what happens when they do.
He thrives on the detailed, exact nature of the work.
"I am the type of person who likes to be organized and work in an environment that requires a lot of attention," said Begay, who has been working in the pulmonary care unit. "With cells, you have to be careful with the timing of everything. It sounds tedious, but I really enjoy it."
Begay is here as part of the Four Directions Summer Research Program (FDSRP), one of two summer research programs hosted annually by BWH's Office for Multicultural Faculty Careers (OMC) in the Center for Faculty Development & Diversity (CFDD). Established in 1994, FDSRP is geared toward college students who are committed to improving the health of Native American communities. The second program, Summer Training in Academic Research and Scholarship (STARS), was established in 2008 and provides similar opportunities for underrepresented minority undergraduates and first-year medical students.
During these 8-week programs, students work on research projects under the mentorship of BWH faculty members. These programs foster the interests of the students as they consider future careers as physicians, scientists or other health care professionals. Students also participate in educational and training seminars designed to enhance their professional and academic development and introduce them to careers in biomedical sciences.
Begay and Kristen Regini are two of this year's nine FDSRP students. Begay, a member of the Navajo tribe from Shiprock, New Mexico, has been assisting Laura Fredenburgh, MD, by looking at how the cells of a rare type of lung disease react in people with hypertension. Regini, a member of the Tule River Yokut tribe in Central California, is a student at San Diego State University and is researching the effects of protein D in sepsis with Becky Baron, MD.
At right: STARS student Kyle Burton with his mentor, Cynthia Lemere.
Jaclyn Muñoz, a senior at Cornell University and one of this year's 14 STARS students, is conducting research in the lab of Vijay K. Kuchroo, DVM, PhD, in the Center for Neurological Diseases. She studies different types of T cells, which facilitate the immune system's response to harmful cells, and their role in the onset of type one diabetes.
"After applying for many summer research opportunities, I chose STARS because of the quality of patient care that the Brigham provides," said Muñoz, who plans to attend medical school and someday care for underserved communities.
Kyle Burton, a rising junior at Howard University, was drawn to the Brigham because of its prestige in transplant surgery, an area in which he would like to specialize. He has enjoyed working on Alzheimer's disease research in the STARS program alongside Cynthia Lemere, PhD.
"The students gain invaluable experience that will help guide their future education and career choices while setting up professional and social networking at BWH," said Lemere. "The lab members have the pleasure of working with bright, motivated young people who bring energy and positivity to the lab. And, importantly, the research is moved forward."
Both programs will conclude next week as the students present their research findings. STARS students will present on Tuesday, Aug. 7, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Bornstein Amphitheater. FDSRP students will present on Wednesday, Aug. 8, in the Shapiro Breakout Room, from 9 to 11:30 a.m. For more information, contact the CFDD at BWHCFDD@partners.org, or call 617-525-7646.