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Institute Welcomes 2007 Summers of Discovery Interns

By Lillian Gu
July 2007

Katie Putney and David Armstrong
Intern Katie Putney enjoys a brown bag lunch during orientation. Putney is working with David Armstrong, Ph.D., in the Laboratory of Neurobiology. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

2007 Summers of Discovery Interns
2007 Summers of Discovery Interns and Mentors pose for the Annual Photo. Writer/photographer Lillian Gu sits to the right of Charle League, seated center. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Charle League
Program coordinator Charle League passes around permanent markers for students and mentors to write name tags at the 2007 Summers of Discovery Annual Picnic (Photo courtesy of Lillian Gu)

Laurine Tiema and Ron Cannon
Summer intern Laurine Tiema poses with her mentor, Ron Cannon, Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Chris Geyer
Chris Geyer, Ph.D., Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology, listens as summer interns share their experience. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Darryl Zeldin
Darryl Zeldin, M.D., Laboratory of Respiratory Biology, interacts with summer interns after lunch. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Gary Burke and Kevin Gerrish
Gary Burke, left, Laboratory of Pharmacology and Chemistry, and Kevin Gerrish, Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology, enjoy lunch together. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Young aspiring scientists from academic institutions across the nation gathered on the NIEHS Patio for the 2007 Summers of Discovery Annual Picnic on June 13. For 8-12 weeks during May through September, each of these 75 interns will work closely with an NIEHS mentor to gain hands-on research experience in disciplines ranging from epidemiology and computer modeling to signal transduction and cancer biology.

Over three times as many young scholars applied to the program this year than were accepted, and those who made it appreciate the opportunity they have at the Institute. University of Wisconsin undergraduate Ben Dickey remarked, "Everyone at the lab has been incredibly welcoming. I'm honored to be here." Dickey is working with Jonathan Freedman, Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology, in the Comparative Genomics Group.

During a brown bag networking lunch with fellow interns, Earlham College undergraduate Katie Putney said, "I've had a lot of fun. I really enjoy learning about the research the lab is working on."

In addition to the research mentoring experience, interns will also take tours of the Institute's library and special workshops on poster preparation and presentation skills, laboratory safety, and animal research. This year's program features some of the Institute's leading researchers in weekly seminars. (See side panel for a schedule of the seminars.)

Because the participants and their mentors decide on their own schedule, the interns' arrivals have been staggered and program coordinator Charle League has had the opportunity to welcome many of the participants individually. "We have a promising group this year," commented League, "and an excellent set of speakers lined up."

While 39 of participants are college undergraduate students, the program also has 14 high school students, 14 graduate students, 7 college faculty and one middle school teacher. There is an equal division of out-of-state and North Carolina residents.

Participants will present their research at the annual poster session on July 25 and attend the Awards Ceremony on July 27.

Established by the Division of Intramural Research in 1989, Summers of Discovery is a full-time research program open to high school, undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing careers in the biological sciences. The program directly promotes Goal VI of the 2006-2011 NIEHS Strategic Plan to "recruit and train the next generation of environmental health scientists" with its unique opportunity to work with leading research scientists at the Institute.

2007 Summers of Discovery Weekly Seminar Series

Most seminars take place on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. in Rodbell Auditorium Conference Room 101B.

  • May 23. "Xenobiotic Transport, ATP-Driven Transporters and the Blood-Brain Barrier" by David Miller, Ph.D., Intracellular Regulation, Laboratory of Pharmacology & Chemistry
  • May 30. "Relationships Between DNA Replication (In)Fidelity and Human Diseases" by Tom Kunkel, Ph.D., Laboratory of Structural Biology
  • June 20. "Using Microarrays to Look for Biomarkers of Injury or Diseases in your RNA" by Richard Paules, Ph.D., NIEHS Microarray Group; Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology
  • June 27. "Allergic Sensitization through the Airway" by Donald Cook, Ph.D., Laboratory of Respiratory Biology
  • July 11. "Regulating Gene Expression by Holding Back Transcription Elongation" by Karen Adelman, Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis
  • July 18. "The Molecular Biology of Bugs, Worms, Fish and Mice" by Jonathan Freedman, Ph.D., Laboratory of Molecular Toxicology.
  • August 1. "Respiratory Virus Infections and Immune Respones" by Farhad Imani, Ph.D., Laboratory of Respiratory Biology.
Gary Bird
Gary Bird, Ph.D., Laboratory of Signal Transduction, interacts with summer interns. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Researchers and summer interns
Researchers from the Laboratory of Respiratory Biology mingle with summer interns. (Photo courtesy of Lillian Gu)

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